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Protest organisers to present outcome

‘Mantoetse Maama

MASERU — A coalition of trade unions and business groups that met Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili last month to present a list of their grievances will meet today in Maseru to brief their members on the outcome of the meeting.
Factory Workers Union deputy secretary general, Seabata Likoti, said the coalition will meet at Ha Tsolo ground at 11am.
Likoti said they will also meet with some of their members who were shot by the police during a three-day strike last month.
The strike was followed by a massive protest march to force Mosisili to accept their petition.
Top among their grievances was that the government must immediately review taxi fares by 100 percent and reverse its decision to freeze recruitment in the civil service.
The taxi operators also wanted the government to suspend its plans to construct toll gates along Lesotho’s main roads.
The trade unions said they wanted the government to increase the minimum wage in the textile industry and allow women working in that sector to enjoy the same maternity leave conditions as workers in other sectors.
The majority of textile workers earn about M900 a month which they want increased to about M2 020 per month.
Business groups want foreigners to concentrate on huge enterprises and leave small businesses to Basotho.
Youth organisations wanted the state to sponsor all students registered at colleges and universities.
The coalition also demanded that the controversial block farming scheme, which senior government officials are alleged to have looted, be audited.
The block farming scheme was a revolving fund established by the government to help small-scale farmers.
There have been allegations that some senior government officials failed to pay back the millions they borrowed from the fund which is run by a local bank.
The coalition leaders last month said they had decided to suspend their plans for further protests after Mosisili promised to look into their concerns.
Mokete Jonase, chairman of the Maseru Region Transport Operators told the Sunday Express on Friday that Mosisili was conciliatory during the meeting last month.
“Mosisili said we should present our grievances to the ministers who are responsible and if we are not satisfied with the decisions made we should consult him again,” Jonase said.
He said members should feel free to attend because the meeting had been sanctioned by the police.
“We assure all our members that no one will be assaulted this time as we have sought police clearance,” he said.

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