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Lerotholi employees cry foul over delayed salaries

Limpho Sello

MASERU — Employees of the Lerotholi Polytechnic have lashed out at the institute’s management for not attending to their unpaid salaries with the respect the matter deserves.

The institute’s trade union Lerotholi Polytechnic Teaching and Non-Teaching Staff Union (LPTANSU), told the polytechnic’s Rector Tsietsi Lebakae that by delaying their payment, the institute was in breach of the institute’s financial provisions.

As a matter of procedure, salaries for staffers of the Lerotholi Polytechnic ought to be paid on the 22nd day of each month.

Section 6 article 1 (b) of the Lerotholi Polytechnic Financial Management Policy indicates that “Salaries shall normally be paid on the 22nd of each month in arrears.

“In the event that the 22nd day of the month is not a working day, the date of payment shall be the nearest normal before the 22nd day”.

However, on the 21st October 2013 (just a day before the normal payday) staff members of the institute were notified through a memo that their salaries for the month of October would “be delayed due to technicalities” hence the payments would “be expected by 24th October 2013″.

It is both the content of the said memo as well as the manner in which it was handled that seemed to have stirred discontent.

According to the secretary–general of LPTANSU, Tlhoriso Sakachane, the delayed payment of staff’s salaries which she said was a recurring phenomenon, undermined them and was a breach of their rights according to stipulated terms.

“We would like to make your office — as the chief accounting officer of the polytechnic — aware that the issue of delayed salaries, which seems to be recurring, is a serious breach of the rights of the employees of the institution . . .,” Sakachane said in a letter to the institute’s rector.

The employees suspect that the institute is in a financial fix hence the recurring delayed payment of their salaries.

However, the institute’s bursar, Thabiso Zwane, told the Sunday Express that the institute was not in a financial crisis, saying that the delays were purely due to a technical mishap.

Zwane says the delays are usually a result of delays in reflection of the grant the institute receives from government and the tuition fees mostly from the National Manpower Development Secretariat.

“In this particular case, we processed the payments timeously, but on the 21st we noticed late that the money hadn’t reflected in the account and when we tried to address the issue, it was already past working hours,” Zwane said.

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