Tšepong nurses reject pay rise
NURSES at Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital have rejected the hospital management’s salary offers and vowed to continue with their ‘go slow’ action to press for a M5000 salary increment for all employees at the institution.
Motlalane Motsopa, a representative of the Lesotho Workers Association (LEWA) which is representing the workers in negotiations with the hospital management, told this publication that the nurses called the industrial action upon learning that some of their colleagues namely the pharmacists and pharma-technicians were awarded increments ranging from M2000 to M5000 per month while the rest of the staff got nothing.
The hospital management reportedly informed the rest of the staff that the move was meant to retain scarce skills.
The nurses demanded the same pay rise as they viewed the decision by the management as discriminatory and undermined the critical role played by other staffers.
Management subsequently offered the nurses an increment of M2000 per month after a meeting last Thursday but the nurses rejected the offer, saying it was not enough.
They also want support staff to be included in the M5000 salary adjustment. The nurses, whose demands were tabled in a letter, stated that, “we are not satisfied with the new offers that we received and like you did to pharmacy staff, we want a fixed amount that is M5000”.
“The supporting staff, ward attendants, ward clerks, receptionists, kitchen staff and drivers are discriminated by not getting anything at all yet they are also employees of the same company. They also need the same amount which is M5000.
“Therefore we kindly inform you that we are continuing with the go slow until we are satisfied,” reads part of the letter dated 8 September 2017 and addressed to the hospital’s general manager.
The letter is copied to Tsepong Staff, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour, the Christian Council of Lesotho, the Prime Minister’s Office and Lesotho Workers Association.
For its part, the hospital management responded by warning the nurses that their hob action was illegal and they should immediately resume work at normal pace failing which they faced disciplinary action.
“The signatories of the letter titled ‘Continuation of Go Slow’ received on 8 September 2017 are hereby reminded that Tšepong (Pty) LTD has been classified as an essential service and as such any form of industrial action by its employees is prohibited by law.
“You are encouraged to engage with management to try and resolve any issues that you might have. You are respectfully informed that you are expected to return to work at a normal pace with immediate effect.
“Failure to heed this call will result in disciplinary action being taken against individuals who embark on any form of industrial action. Please be advised that the offer of the interim (not annual) salary adjustment presented to you is final and further that it will be implemented to staff members who have not communicated dissatisfaction.
“Individuals who have signaled their rejection of the offer are invited to further communicate with management by 15 December 2017,” reads part of the letter by Tšepong management.
Mr Motsopa told the Sunday Express the job action was justified in view of the discrimination that the hospital management had effected through the salary increments.
“While we recognise the fact that Tšepong offers an essential service which does not need to be disrupted by an industrial action, we believe that discrimination in the workplace is a labour issue that should be addressed. That is why we copied the letter to the Ministry of Labour and Employment because we believe they have something to contribute in the matter,” Mr Motsopa said.