Majoro pledges to pay M800 subsidy

Majoro pledges to pay M800 subsidy

MASERU-PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro on Monday pledged to pay factory workers M800 each to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in fulfilment of a promise made by his predecessor.
Majoro made the comments three days after the police crushed an illegal protest by factory workers in Ha-Thetsane.

“We commit to fulfil promises made by the past government to the people to lessen the after-effects of this disease (Covid-19),” Majoro said.
“We pledge to fulfil them in full.”
“They include the M800 living allowances for factory workers, assisting owners of rented residential buildings, street vendors and other sectors of the society,” he said.

The factory workers were pushing Majoro to honour the promise made by his predecessor Thomas Thabane on March 29.
Announcing the national lockdown in March, Thabane said the government would pay the workers an M800 allowance to cushion them during the pandemic.

But not all factory workers got the money, triggering howls of protest from the disgruntled workers.
Emotions boiled over in the Thetsane Industrial Estate last Friday as textile workers embarked on an unsanctioned strike.
The workers burnt tyres and blocked roads in Thetsane but the police them moved in to disperse the striking workers.
The push for the payment was being spearheaded by six factory workers’ unions.

The Deputy Secretary General of the National Clothing and Textile and Allied Workers Union (NACTWU), Tšepang Makakole, said they still want to meet the Prime Minister in person to express their concerns.
He said they had a meeting with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Thabiso Molapo, on Monday.

He said Dr Molapo told them that he would arrange a meeting with the Prime Minister because a lot of grievances that had been expressed were not in his line of work but could only be dealt with by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Makakole said Dr Molapo told them he would deal with the issue of skills transfer that rightly falls under his ministry.
“He said he is going to arrange a meeting for us with the Prime Minister,” he said.

What has caused confusion, according to Makakole, was that the government has written a letter saying they are going to assist only those factory workers who are not going to work.
He said he is wondering how they are going to make that assessment.

The money is expected to come from a M500 million Covid-19 Economic Relief Fund that was set up by Thabane to save businesses from collapse.
The former Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Pheko Lerotholi, said they were going to liaise with the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) to get the exact numbers of the factories.
He also said they were going to use the last payroll so that they could see how many people were supposed to be paid.

Staff Reporter

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