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Security guards threaten industrial action

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU — BB Alert Security Guards have threatened to down tools this week to press management to fire the company’s human resources manager, Mahlelehlele Mahloane, whom they accused of delaying their monthly salaries.

BB Security Guards is Lesotho’s biggest security company and employs about 700 people.

The strike could paralyse security operations at most companies such as supermarkets which rely heavily on the firm for security services.

The Lesotho Times understands that the guards had yesterday planned to besiege the company’s headquarters in Maseru West to press their demand.

The plan was however scuttled after management, acting on a tip-off, invited the workers for a meeting.

Workers who spoke to this newspaper insisted there were still plans to embark on the strike.

The workers said they want to force the managing director, Mathibeli Moleko, to fire Mahloane for incompetence.

They said Mahloane had a habit of consistently delaying their salaries.

They also accused him of working “hard to ensure that retrenched workers do not get their terminal benefits on time”.

They said although their official pay day was the third of each month, they have not been getting their salaries until the 15th or the 20th of the month.

This situation, the workers said, was seriously inconveniencing them as they needed to pay rent.

“He (Mahloane) retrenched about 20 security guards saying there was no work because the number of customers had declined. But during the very same week he recruited new ones,” said a guard who refused to disclose his name.

“We want him out of that office as soon as possible,” he said.

“If the board of directors wants to keep him for whatever reasons, let it do so but he should not be among us. The board should give him another position.”

Moleko said the company was aware of the workers’ plans to stage protests at the headquarters.

“Our intelligence team informed us on Monday that the workers were planning to block entry and exit of this office,” Moleko said.

“However, I had already decided that I was going to address their grievances today (Wednesday) and I had asked them to write them down,” he said.

“We are a transparent company and every Wednesday we have a parade where every issue is addressed and everybody is allowed to air his views.”

Moleko said the delay in processing salaries was because he had fallen ill and was bed-ridden last month.

“The delay was not caused by the personnel manager but by me because I had not done some paper work due to my illness,” he said.

He said he met the workers’ representatives yesterday where he told them that he would deal with their grievances.

He however said the issue of dismissing Mahloane was beyond the workers.

“I could not just expel the human resource manager just because the workers demand it,” Moleko said.

“He is a senior employee employed on the basis of his qualifications and skills,” he said.

“Apart from that, I told the workers’ representatives that the human resource manager acted on my instructions when he retrenched some of them.”

He said the retrenchment was inevitable due to declining business.

“I assured the workers that I was not going to dismiss them for plotting this (industrial action) because I will address their grievances,” Moleko said.

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