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Trade unions want labour boss out

by Lesotho Times
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MASERU — Several trade unions are today expected to meet Labour Minister ’Maphoka Motoboli to push for the dismissal of Labour Commissioner ’Mamohale Matsoso.
The five trade unions and two federations this week accused the labour commissioner of undermining their efforts to address employees’ grievances.
The bodies representing workers on Monday petitioned Motoboli to fire Matsoso who is also the registrar of trade unions and employers’ associations.
In a letter to the minister, the unions accused the labour commissioner of leading her officials into becoming a “law unto themselves”.
The unions are the Factory Workers Union (Fawu), Lesotho Clothing and Allied Workers Union (Lecawu), National Union of Textile, Union of Textile Employees, and Lentsoe la Sechaba.
The federations are Lesotho Congress of Democratic Unions and Lesotho Labour Council.
“Matsoso belittles us saying we are weak and sleeping yet she does not take any remedial steps in terms of the law in her capacity as the registrar of trade unions,” the unions said in a joint statement.
The sour relations between the unions and Matsoso, whom they have over the years accused of compromising her professional neutrality when intervening in labour disputes, ruptured last week when hundreds of workers at a local textile firm were fired for going on strike.
Fawu president, Macaefa Billy, told the Lesotho Times yesterday that the unions were shocked to find that the labour department officials had advised management at the company, Shining Century, to dismiss workers instead of facilitating talks between the two parties.
“When we arrived at the factory we found the Chinese (Shining Century management) not wanting to talk to us anymore saying they had dealt with the matter at the advice of labour officials,” Billy said.
“The management told us that the officials advised them to expel the workers because they had staged an unlawful strike,” he said.
“The Labour Commissioner should be neutral and her advice should benefit both the employer and employee.”
He said labour officials know Matsoso’s attitude towards workers and they imitate her example.
“She is leading by a bad example,” Billy said.
Efforts to contact Matsoso last night were not successful.

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