Avani workers up in arms over salaries

Avani workers up in arms over salaries

MASERU – Workers at the Avani Hotel Group are up in arms against their management for allegedly slashing their salaries and poor working conditions.
They accuse the management of using the Covid-19 pandemic to cut and delay their salaries. The employees say the management has stopped issuing payslips, which they suspect is meant to hide the fact that they are underpaid.

They also accuse the government, which holds a 57 percent stake in the group, of turning a blind eye to the management’s violation of the labour rules. Of particular concern to the workers is that the hotels have reopened but they have not been restored to their previous salary levels. They say even those reduced wages are being delayed.
“When we ask about these inconveniences, we are told that salaries are processed at our head office outside the country,” said an employee who asked for anonymity for fear of reprisal.

He said their appeals to the government for help have been ignored.
“The former boss of the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC), Mohato Seleke, tried to help but he left,” the employee said.
Seleke is now at the Lesotho Electricity Corporation (LEC).
“We have families that we have to look after,” said another employee who wanted to remain anonymous.
The employees also say they don’t believe the management’s explanation that the business is struggling.
They want the government to institute an audit to verify the management’s claims.

The Minister of Labour, Moshe Leoma, said he was not aware of the problems the workers are experiencing at the hotel as he has never received any complaint from them.
He promised to organise a meeting between the workers and the ministry’s principal secretary.

The Human Resources Manager of Lesotho Avani, Lebohang Chakache, denied the allegations of underpaying the workers and delaying their salaries.
“Everything is still normal here. There is nothing like that,” Chakache said.
The National Union of Commerce, Catering and Allied Workers Union (NUCCAWU) said it is not aware of the employees’ grievances.

Majara Molupe

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