underground
Women working underground at Dishaba mine.
The NUM Women's Structure is to embark on a national march to the Chamber of Mines, Eskom, and SAFCEC on Saturday, 26 August 2017.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Women’s Structure will embark on a national march to the Chamber of Mines, Eskom and South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) on Saturday, 26 August 2017 to hand over a memorandum of grievances related to transformation and empowerment of women at various workplaces.

The NUM states gender discrimination still prevails in the mining industry with women comprising a mere 10.9% of the entire workforce.

The NUM also says this figure includes women who are doing general work, those on the surface and traffic calmers in construction. Most women are being subjected to heavy lifting duties leading them to suffer from back and waist pains, and that alone contribute to disturbed sexual productive cycles and unnecessary miscarriages.

Women still occupy low paying positions with fewer opportunities for development and or empowerment with serious salary disparities having been reported states the NUM.

In most cases, women are required to work harder to prove themselves with lack of support from both their male colleagues and managers.

There is still non-compliance by employers to legislative requirements. Women are still being refused their basic rights such as maternity leave, career progressive placements during and after pregnancy, and the provision of suitable health and safety equipment’s.

“We have undertaken a study to determine progress made by employers. This study has confirmed that minimal progress has been achieved in most areas confirming many other reports such as the Employment Equity Report, Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) and the presidential report,” says, the NUM Women's Structure national secretary, Phumeza Mgengo.

Those report confirmed that women in sectors that the NUM organises still experience gender discrimination and exclusion that manifests itself in various forms.

The NUM Women’s Structure demands that sexual harassment when reported, be treated tantamount to unfair discrimination and that victims should not be victimised.

“We demand an end to differences in pay and favouritism at workplace based on racial differences. We also demand a meaningful equity and inclusive economic, effective economic participation of women in the mainstream business in our sectors. We demand access to decision making and career advancement,” adds Mgengo.

Feature image credit: Amplats