Spy strike rocks government

Spy strike rocks government

MASERU – A seemingly spontaneous strike by National Security Service (NSS) agents has shaken the coalition government.
A group of agents gathered outside the NSS building and briefly blocked the Mpilo Boulevard yesterday to demand an immediate review of their salaries, which they claim were last adjusted in 2013.
They also complained of poor work conditions.
Some of the agents accused the government of undermining their work by ignoring important information on potential threats to national security.
Others told thepost, on condition of anonymity, that they want the government to give them the six percent awarded to the police.

Some could be heard cursing at the heavily armed police officers who had come to monitor their strike.
“So now when we need our money they are here to stop us because they have enough in their pockets,” said one agent.
“We are not even afraid of them, we only want the money and nothing more,” he added.
As the drama unfolded the principal secretary of Defence and National Security, Makotoko Lerotholi, hurried to report to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
Thabane hastily summoned NSS Director General Pheello Ralenkoane to explain what was happening.
Also in the meeting were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Leshoboro Mohlajoa, Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli, army boss Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela and the Lesotho Correctional Service Commissioner Thabang Mothepu.

Thabane’s spokesman, Thabo Thakalekoala, confirmed the meeting but was at pains to downplay the incident.
“It was a meeting of security chiefs, the Prime Minister and the minister responsible for national security,” Thakalekoala said.
He said Ralenkoane explained that the NSS agents “were not on strike at all”.
“I want to emphasise that the director general explained that they were not on strike but they were there because they wanted to discuss their salary increment issues.”
Thakalekoala said Ralenkoane told Thabane that the agents ended up blocking the road near their offices “because they were so many that they had nowhere to park their cars”.
“He said some were from the districts and so they were so many that the place was too small for them,” he said. Thakalekoala said Thabane allayed their fears by saying their issue was being dealt with, together with the similar salary review demanded by the Correctional officers.

Pressure is mounting on the government to review salaries of some civil servants.
A few weeks ago the government was buckled to intense pressure from the police who wanted a salary increase.
Even after the government agreed to their demands some officers in police stations in Hlotse ‘downed tools’, accusing the administration of reneging on its promise and delaying to implement the increase.
Sources say correctional officers also feel that the government is not taking their wage demands seriously.
There is also frustration among the general civil servants whose salaries were not increased this year.
Meanwhile, teachers have vowed to continue with their strike which has dragged on for more than a year.

Thooe Ramolibeli

 

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