Workers disputes backlog riles union
LENTSOE la Sechaba Workers Union’s Secretary General Monaheng Mokaoane says government delays in filling staff vacancies at the Labour Court and the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDPR) has created a serious backlog in cases of labour disputes which has disadvantaged workers.
“In the DDPR there are no arbitrators to deal with workers’ cases resulting in delays. In the meantime our members’ rights get trampled upon by the employers,” Mr Mokaoane said, adding they had since written to the Labour Minister Mr Thulo Mahlakeng “demanding an audience over this issue of unfilled vacancies that compromises the rights of workers”.
He said under normal circumstances it took at least 30 working days to deal with cases but the process was now taking months as there were just a handful of arbitrators at the moment.
“What is also troubling is the fact that labour disputes which are decided in favour of the workers end up being appealed in the Labour Court which is also faced with dire problems of manpower shortages to handle the cases.
He said since the death of the President of the Labour Court Lebereko Lethobane, cases had been handled by a single judge who had no one to assist her.
Mokaoane said since the 6th of October, his union had unsuccessfully sought a meeting with the minister over their grievances.
He said they sought to discuss three topical issues in the labour sector including the “irrational postponement of cases at DDPR, shortage of decision makers in DDPR and Labour Court and pending cases at the Labour Court”.
He had also noted in the letter that “these issues affect the proper function of both our union and the administration of justice. They also contribute to and are tantamount to victimisation of the members of our union, unions and individual citizens of Lesotho as the employees”.
The minister was not available for comment but his Private Secretary Ms Potso Mapefane told the Sunday Express that the union’s letter had been referred to the ministry’s Principal Secretary Karabo Tlhoeli who in turn referred the letter to the Deputy Principal Secretary, Mr Pitso Makasholo.
Mr Makasholo was not reachable for comment on his mobile phone.