Textile workers, employers resort to ILO intervention

MASERU — Textile workers unions and employers have agreed to call an International Labour Organisation (ILO) expert following a stalemate over salary negotiations.

Lesotho factory workers are currently earning between M700 and M900 per month and want their salaries hiked to M2 020 a month.

Factory owners have however refused to budge on the workers’ demands leading to the two parties agreeing to call an arbitrator to deal with the dispute.

Daniel Maraisane, the secretary general of the Lesotho Clothing and Workers Union (Lecawu), confirmed that a representative from ILO in Geneva, Switzerland, has been called to help the two parties in their negotiations.

“We are expecting the expert to come before the end of the month. The expert has been called because a lot of factors have to be considered in order to reach the M2 020 (mark),” Maraisane said.

The decision to call the ILO expert was reached two weeks ago after the unions and employers failed to reach agreement on the salary structure.

The latest talks come two months after factory workers downed tools demanding a hefty salary increment.

They wanted their salaries improved from October 1.

The Factory Workers Union, Lesotho Clothing Allied Workers Union, United Textile Employees and Lesotho Security Workers Union were backed by civil society, students, transport organisations and other business bodies.

A planned national stay-away was averted after Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili ordered some ministers to address the coalition’s grievances.

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