Majoro beg workers to suspend strike

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By Lineo Ramatlapeng

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro has pleaded with textile and garments factory Workers to put on hold their strike in demands for minimum wages and expect the government to publish a gazette on the minimum wages by June 16.

Majoro has called on the workers and their unions to put their strike on hold to afford the publication of the minimum wages gazette to be done according to the provisions of the law.

Majoro said he had noted that the workers and their unions are dissatisfied following the announcement of a decision of a cabinet ministers committee he had appointed to advise the labour and employment minister Moshe Leoma on the minimum wages for publication.

The prime minister said he has been informed that a public consultation underway on the minimum wages for the 2021/2022 financial year will be concluded on June 14.

Majoro’s pleadings for suspension of strikes follows unrest and destruction of properties by dissatisfied factory workers who had been told by Public Service Minister Motlohi Maliehe their plight for more pay would be resolved by inviting the International Labour Organisation.

Maliehe acting as the chairperson of the cabinet committee advising Leoma on the minimum wages said their decision is that ILO must advise the country on what would be the best way to handle the minimum wages taking the economic depression induced by Covid-19.

Maliehe said they consulted extensively with both the unions and the Lesotho employer’s association.

“The consultation meetings we had with the stakeholder were to understand the problem and know what their views are about the situation and to seek advice from a different side to find a solution,” said Maliehe.

Maliehe said, “We issued a report and the advice to cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister.

“Thereafter we had our cabinet discussions on the matter and bigger challenges that affect the country’s laws, economy, jobs and business security”.

Maliehe said key advice by his committee to Leoma was for his ministry to invite International Labour Organization (ILO) to “intercede and advise both sides on minimum wage for the 2020/2021 financial year”.

He said “this will improve social dialogue on the matter of employees, employers and government regarding their salaries”.

Maliehe added ILO’s intervention will give an opportunity for the final decision to be in line with the country’s laws and best international labour practices that the country subscribes to.

Sam Mokhele, national clothing, textile and allied workers union (Nactwu) Secretary general said they do not understand what ILO is going to do since the organization only gives advice where needed and that the situation only requires a gazette to be issued.

Maliehe said the ministry had already talked to the ILO to attend to this matter urgently and that the Prime Minister gave the order for the Labour draft law formulation to be finalised and handed to the National reforms authority and Parliament for enactment.

He said the new labour would lessen incidents of the wild cat strikes that come as a result of dissatisfied workers over minimum wages.

“The minister of labour and employment is undergoing the process of 2021/2022 minimum wage to be finalized and the process is expected to be complete on the 14th June 2021,” said Maliehe.

Thereafter, Maliehe said the minimum wage announcement will be done according to the labour code order 1992 and made a plea to the workers union for their members to return to work on the 26th May 2021.

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