By Kefiloe Kajane
After vowing to explore all lawful avenues to express displeasure at the retention of Keketso Rantṧo as minister of labour and employment, the Coalition of Trade Unions has resolved to engage in a picketing march next week Friday, where they will also be demanding payment of M800 wage subsidies to all textile workers, among others.
In addition to the release of the gazette on the 2020 minimum wages, the trade unions also demand a social security fund and a review of the Labour Code.
The workers plan to converge at Sefikeng sa Moshoeshoe in central Maseru, where they hope to hand a memorandum of grievances to the prime minister.
In an interview with theReporter, on Wednesday, Lesotho Wholesalers Catering and Allied Workers Union (LEWCAWU) spokesperson Lebonejoang Molefi said they have still not received a response from Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, despite giving him until last week Friday to replace Rantṧo.
“Rantṧo has not done anything for workers, so we are not willing discuss anything with her. That is why we want her out, above everything else.
“The minimum wages have not gone up for many years and this is particularly disturbing. She always supports the employers to the detriment of the workers. What makes matters worse is that introduce a law that sets up a social security scheme.
“We also want the M800 that the government is giving factory workers to continue for six months instead of three,” said Molefi who added that they will also be pushing for expansion of the Covid-19 relief plan to cover other sectors.
National Clothing and Textile and Allied Workers Union (NACTWU) secretary-general Sam Mokhele had this to say:
“The first batch of workers has been paid and we are very thankful for that, but this arrangement was made without prior consultation with trade unions, hence its implementation was fraught with challenges like some workers not receiving the money and others receiving it belatedly.”
Mokhele is adamant that they want to see the workers receiving the wage subsidy for the initial three months as promised, and then for another three months as they really need the money since they do not work full hours.
He said they had requested government to convince employers to set up an additional relief fund as well, but the request has fallen on deaf ears.