700 factory workers out in the cold

700 factory workers out in the cold

MASERU – ABOUT 700 former workers of Jonsson Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd have lost their bid for reinstatement after the Directorate of Disputes Prevention and Resolution (DDPR) threw out their case.
The textile firm in Maputsoe fired hundreds of workers in April last year following a strike the firm said was unlawful.
Last Thursday, after a long and bruising legal battle, the DDPR only awarded the workers three months wages, much to their dismay.

The National Clothing and Textile Workers Union (NACTWU) expressed shock that the DDPR did not order the reinstatement of the workers.
NACTWU secretary-general, Sam Mokhele, said he was appalled that while the DDPR accepted that the workers were fired unlawfully it still failed to order their reinstatement.
“The court only ruled that the workers were dismissed unlawfully therefore they should be compensated for a salary of three months,” Mokhele said.

“The fact that the judgment says nothing about reinstatement of workers does not sit well with us,” he said.
Mokhele said other workers’ unions too are not pleased with the ruling.
“The law allows us to appeal against the judgment,” he said.
The affected former workers were sinking deeper into poverty and are hoping that the appeal will be successful so that they can return to their jobs.

The workers’ biggest gripe was the refusal by the employer to pay retirement packages.
The workers were also furious that the factory changed the knock-off time from 2:30pm to 3:30pm without factoring in overtime even for Sundays.
Mokhele said the workers were also unhappy that the company does not have a clear pay date.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Labour, Tšepiso Montši, declared the Maputsoe factory strike unlawful.
Mokhele said “it is clear we are on our own now”.

Nkheli Liphoto


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