Union bigwigs not so amused by wage increase

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Maseru, October 30 –Some labour union leaders are not so amused by wage increase commencing end of October in the private sector.

The dissatisfaction has come to the surface particularly within the textile union with Unite General Secretary Bahlakoana Lebakae openly expressing it to the newsline365.wordpress.com just a day before end of the month.

Lebakae said Thursday that the published 2014 Gazette on new wage increases has not been presented to parliament by the labour ministry for scrutiny following negotiations over pay increase by the Wages Advisory Board.

He is a member of the advisory board.

“The labour department bypassed parliament over this new gazette for wages increase. We expected the document to be tabled before the legislature so that the House could analyse whether it complies with the benchmarks set on November 30 2012 in the National Assembly,” observed Lebakae.

Bahlakoana Lebakae
Bahlakoana Lebakae

“It was agreed that there should be a restructuring of wages, an establishment of a bargaining council and an increase of a three-month paid maternity leave for textile employees from 2013. That has not happened,” added Lebakae. The union’s plan to seek court interdict to nullify and declare as void both the 2013 and 2014 wage gazettes was fruitless.

According to the new wage arrangements, workers in the textile industry are to earn a six percent rise on pay beginning end of October and a further four percent starting April 2015.Those in the other sectors are to earn an increase of seven percent and a three percent rise during the same period.

Another union boss, Mosesanyane Masoebe of the Lesotho Congress of Democratic Unions (LeCODU) also expressed dissatisfaction that the new pay increase will still leave the textile sector as the lowest paying industry.

“We’re not fully satisfied. There should have been a restructuring of the textile employees’ pay in order that their monthly pay is closer to that of those in other private sectors,” he argued.

The secretary general suggested a formation of a sectoral bargaining council which would negotiate specific pay hikes for each industry.

“But in this current instance, unions do negotiate under one roof although the sectors are wide and different. We negotiate for workers who are also not our members,” remarked Masoebe whose labour movement enjoys membership in health, banking, construction, teaching service as well as textile

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