Guards down tools over pay

Guards down tools over pay

MASERU – AT least 500 guards at Security Unlimited downed tools on Monday demanding a 13.1 percent salary increase.

The strike was due to end today. However, the strike action could resume again on Monday of their employer refuses to bow to their demands.

The workers say they are only paid M35 per month for lunch, which translates to a loti and a few lisente per day.

The workers are also demanding family responsibility leave and a patrol allowance.

“Our work is very much admired, this is why we are guards at the American Embassy, the Chinese Embassy, the South African High Commission, Standard Bank, FNB, United Nations and many other places of prestige but we are not acknowledged for such work” one of the workers said.

“We are ready to go on strike until the employer bows to our demands. We want him to negotiate with us not to just keep quiet,” he said.

According to Motlalane Motsopa, an organiser at the Lesotho Workers Association (LEWA), they met with the management together with representatives of employees to request that the company increase salaries by 13.1 percent.

“Our negotiations and talks started way before the government could offer an increment of 7 percent and they knew that we didn’t want our increment to be seven percent,” Motsopa said.

“Now they want to say we are against the seven percent offered by the government,” he said, adding that the 7 percent is the minimum wage set by the wages board and the unions can negotiate more.

“Our meeting with the management hit the wall and we had to resort to the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolutions (DDPR) on a case of dispute of interest,” he said.

“We made the arbitrator aware that we were not fighting for the minimum wage but we wanted an increment of 13.1 percent,” Motsopa said.

“An agreement that a vote should be done to see who are for the strike and who are not for the strike and majority (500) were for the strike and 68 were not going to join the strike while 100 employees did not vote,” Motsopa said.

“Let me make it clear that this strike is very much legal, we did all that we had to do to have a legal strike as employees,” Motsopa said.

Thabo Ramolula, a Security Unlimited employees’ representative, says after they did not show up for work on Mondaythe company employed passers-by.

“People who do not qualify were employed the very same day, passers-by were called it and immediately given overalls and not proper uniforms and identity cards,” Ramolula said.

“Unlike us, they did not have police clearance, medical certificates and most are not even over 28 years as the company requires,” he said.

Ramolula said they have not yet even been paid their August salaries.

“We get paid on the 24th, we even know that payment rolls are finalised on the 16th. When we asked why we were not being paid, the management told us that it is because we are planning to go on strike,” he said.

“How can we not be paid when we are on legal strike? It is our right to strike as employees if we are not satisfied” Ramolula said.

Rose Moremoholo

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