Textile workers down tools

Textile workers down tools

MASERU – THE strike at Jonsson Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd, a textile firm in Maputsoe, enters the fourth day today as 3 500 workers vow to fight on.
The Ministry of Labour says the strike is illegal.
Last year Jonsson bought Peter Blond which had closed due to bankruptcy.
It also retained 500 Peter Blond’s employees.
The employees say Jonsson’s factories have turned into sweatshops where they work long hours under punishing conditions for little pay.

Sam Mokhele, a spokesman for the National Clothing and Textile Workers Union (NACTWU), told thepost that the workers said they will not report for duty until their grievances are solved.
The factory makes work-suits.
Mokhele said their biggest gripe is that the employer refuses to pay them packages when they retire.
He said the workers are also furious that the factory has changed the knock off time from 2:30pm to 3:30pm.
“They are saying that should stop because there is no loss in the company if they do so,” he said.
They also say contracts they have are different to the ones the employer has.
He said Jonsson does not pay workers overtime when they work on Sundays.

Mokhele said the workers are also not happy that the company does not have a clear pay date.
“They end up not meeting their basic needs as workers, they need a fixed date,” he said.
“We tried to talk to the employer since last year but we could not reach a conclusion. We went to the DPPR (Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolution) for solutions to no avail. Workers decided to go on strike until their grievances are solved.”
“The workers will not attend (work) until their grievances are addressed, unless something positive comes up they will not work,” he said.

The Ministry of Labour’s spokesman, Tšepiso Montši, said the Maputsoe factory strike is unlawful.
Montši said the issues were reported to the ministry by the workers’ unions.
“The issue is being worked out,” she said.
She said the issues were taken to the DPPR.
“The DPPR tried to intervene by calling both sides for negotiations,” she said.
She said the DPPR gave workers permission to strike and then the employer went to the Labour Court which issued an interim order saying the strike should be suspended to give negotiations a chance.

“Their strike is now unlawful because the interim court order suspended the strike.”
Lesotho National Development Corporation spokesman, Lerato Tsunyane, said they were notified of the strike “but there is nothing we can do because the union is striking”.
Efforts to contact Jonsson management were not successful at the time of going to print.

Nkheli Liphoto

 

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