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Workers fired for striking

Mantoetse Maama


MASERU — Over 40 Tuwana Construction employees were fired for allegedly engaging in an illegal strike last week.

Employees demanded transport allowance and their long service payment.

One of the employees who refused to be named claimed his employer had been underpaying him for a long time.

“Our employer was not paying us all according to our skills and experience. We were underpaid and we have been demanding living wage for a long time but nothing had changed. Whenever we tried to negotiate with him he threatened to fire us. Some of our fellow workers were fired before and we have been afraid to raise our concerns for some time,” he said.

Another employee who claimed that he was working at the Metolong Project where the company is subcontracted said it was not clear why they were not getting transport allowances when they were supposed to get it.

“We are also supposed to get accommodation and food allowances but our employer is denying us those benefits,” he said.

An organiser for Construction, Mining, Quarrying and Allied Workers Union (CMQAW) Lomile Lesaoana said the employees were on stay away.

“They are on stay away because they wanted the employer to address their issues. The employer was not prepared to listen to their concerns and threatened to fire them if they did not return to work,” Lesaoana said.

Rabotenti ‘Mako from Labour Net Association of Employers, said the employees were engaged in an illegal strike.

“In August we had a meeting with the employees union, after the workers complained that they were being underpaid. We resolved the problem and the employer agreed to adjust their salaries in accordance with the stipulated minimum wage by end of August.

“We are surprised to hear that the workers are on strike demanding allowances. I regard this matter as a dispute of interest of which employers can choose to provide transport allowances to his employees,” Mako said.

He said they warned the workers thrice to return to work, the workers ignored.

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