Cato Ridge-based manganese company Assmang, has dismissed in a major u-turn claims that its employees were dying of manganese- related diseases.
It further ordered that workers reported to be affected by manganism should be tested through its â€œspecialized screening processesâ€ because it learnt that the symptoms could be attributed to a number of possible diseases or conditions not necessarily only to manganism
Numsa is preparing to sweat it out in the public commission of enquiry into the matter which is convened by the Department of Labourâ€™s Compensation for Occupational Injury and Disease in February 24-29th, 2008.
The profit-seeking multinational has completely turned its back on those workers who suffered debilitating conditions and incapacity after being exposed to high levels of manganese at its plant outside Pietermaritzburg.
Manganism sufferers are now going through worst difficulties without medication after the company stopped payment of medical costs to doctors attending to those employees.
It (company) further demanded that all employees should undergo â€œproper diagnosisâ€ in order to establish an appropriate medical surveillance programme.
After more than a year of bitter- sweet negotiations in respect of compensation settlements the company management claimed that new medical evidence has emerged and abruptly suspended further negotiations on compensation settlements.
We are extremely irritated by this belligerent behaviour by the company management and bad faith negotiations because it seeks to delay the processing of disabled workers compensation claims, Numsa national health and safety coordinator Puleng Mminele said.
The company earlier conceded that it discovered almost 47 years of its operations in the country that high levels of manganism threatened its workforce.
And, further decision by the management to stop and restructure planned ex-gratia settlements on behalf of the affected workers is ill-considered and depressing for it showed disregard for the severely injured workersâ€™ interests and their families.
For further information contact:
Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson
Cell phone: 082 9407116
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
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