Trade unions mount pressure on labour minister

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…want 2021 wage increases gazette published and applied retrospectively from April

By Lerema Pheea

An alliance of unions has called for the minister of labour and employment to publish the 2021 minimum wages and demand they apply retrospectively from April 21.

Speaking on behalf of the alliance made up of six unions, Secretary-General of the National Clothing Textile and Allied Workers Union (NACTWU), Sam Mokhele said Minister Moshe Leoma failed to issue minimum wages gazette detailing the increase of 2020/2021 and 2021/2022.

Mokhele said they agreed as the alliance members to work for hand in glove on common issues affecting workers across all sectors.

He said trade unions unity will benefit workers as they will speak with one strong voice to fight for workers’ rights.

He added, “as a labour movement, we represent private sectors, we are much concerned that workers had not been given an increase in 2020/2021 for no good reason while the wages advisory board had completed its business on March 24, 20220”.

Mokhele said they want Leoma to issue the minimum wages gazette with immediate effect retrospectively from 1st April 2021.

He said it was the negligence of former minister Keketso Rantšo to have not issued the 2020/2021 minimum wages gazette.

“We demand the gazette for 2021/2022 to be issued immediately after the completion of public consultations,” he said.

Mokhele also said they had petitioned the minister on the worrying pace with which the directorate on dispute prevention and resolution (Ddpr), Labour Court and the Labour Appeal Court as far back as February 2021.

“We are very much unhappy that the Minister and the ministry have not passed the reviewed Labour Code order since 2006 to date.

“So, we demand the Minister to fast track the issuance of this bill as it is beneficial to the workers, employers and the country as a whole,” Said Mokhele.

He further said they are much disappointed that the labour and employment ministry through its minister had failed to issue out the social security bill which could have helped workers during the devastating situation of covid 19.

He says that they demand the Minister to fast track the issuance of the bill as it is beneficial to the workers and the country.

Mokhele also noted that they dissatisfied with covid-19 regulations that he argues contravene the provisions of the country’s labour code order of 1992 to the prejudice of workers.

He says that the worker must be represented in the making of the covid 19 regulations made by the National Covid 19 Secretariat (Nacosec).

He said they are dissatisfied with Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s government that he argues is obligated to protect workers’ rights but has failed to issue the minimum wages gazette intended to set minimum wages and protect labour rights.