Factory workers receive salary subsidies

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Bereng Mpaki

FACTORY workers on Tuesday began receiving the M800 salary subsidy from the government to cushion them from the loss of their salaries during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

The workers were forced to stay at home when the government imposed a nationwide lockdown from 30 March to 5 May 2020 to prevent the spread of the virus.

During that period factories and other businesses which were deemed no-essential were forced to close. As a result, the textile companies were unable to pay their workers as they did not generate any revenue during the lockdown.

Prime Minster Thomas Thabane subsequently last month announced that the government would pay each of the 45 000 factory workers M800 per month from April to June 2020.

The money is meant to help workers pay for some of their basic needs.

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The secretary general of the United Textile Employees (UNITE) union, Solong Senohe, yesterday told this publication that the workers had started receiving the payments.

“I can confirm that some workers started receiving the money from the government yesterday (Tuesday),” Mr Senohe said.

The payments came just in time to prevent planned protests which could have turned violent in Maputsoe on Monday.

National Clothing, Textile and Allied Workers’ Union (NACTWU) official, Tšepang Makakole, said the unions had to plead with the restive workers to give the government time to fulfil its promise of paying them.

Meanwhile, the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC), which has been tasked with processing the payments, said it expected to have paid all the workers by yesterday.

“By close of business on Monday, the corporation processed payments for 20 000 workers with the remainder being finalised in the next two days,” the LNDC said in a statement this week.

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