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Cops appeal over low pay

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — The Police Staff Association (PSA) has written to Home Affairs Ministry Principal Secretary Retšelisitsoe Khetsi asking the government to address their grievances over pay.

The association’s media liaison officer, Thabiso Thaanyane, confirmed that a letter was handed to Khetsi on Monday.

The police threatened to down tools in August demanding an improvement in their salaries and working conditions.

The ministry promised the police that their grievances will be addressed in the next financial year.

Negotiations between the two parties were temporarily suspended as the government prepared for the local government election which was held on October 1.

“Now that election has come and gone we have written to the authorities to remind them of the pending negotiations,” Thaanyane said.

“We have requested a meeting as soon as possible because at present there is nothing on the table that can make us suspend negotiations,” he said.

In August the association’s delegates met Khetsi and the acting police commissioner, Kizito Mhlakaza, to discuss their grievances.

The police have for the past seven years been complaining about low salaries, meagre risk allowances and poor working conditions.

They also say they are not happy with the transfer policy within the service that they say disrupts their family lives.

They have also been complaining about living in dilapidated houses in various posts throughout the country, as well as working in offices thatthey describe as “rundown”.

The PSA’s general secretary, Motsamai Kholumo, told the Lesotho Times in an interview during a leadership capacity building workshop last week that although the government promised to consider some of their grievances in the coming financial year, no agreement has been signed as yet.

Kholumo said even though to a certain extent the government agreed that rank structures should be reviewed, salaries for those ranks still lag behind.

“Our salaries do not match the ranks and this is one of the major things we need to discuss with the police authorities,” Kholumo said.

“According to our agreement it is expected that by April next year when the new financial year starts the new salary structure will come into operation but no document has been signed as yet and no circular has been issued,” he said.

The police are also not happy that the government has not reviewed allowances since 1994.

“A police officer is given M100 a month as risk allowance and it has been so since 1994. A driver’s allowance is 33 lisente per day while allowance for plain clothes (officers) is M20 per month. Special duty police are given M40 while radio
operators are paid a monthly allowance of M15,” Kholumo said.

He said the association is determined to ensure that whatever agreement they will have with the government will be budgeted for in the 2012 financial year that starts on April 1.

The association took new steps to talk to the authorities after the Southern Africa Police and Correctional Institutions Staffs Association held a week-long capacity building workshop for them.

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