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Tšepong workers mull strike over pay

by Lesotho Times

tsepongBy ‘Mantoetse Maama

MASERU — Tšepong employees yesterday threatened to go on strike if their management does not review their salaries to match those of their counterparts serving in the public sector.

They want their salary adjustments to match the new public service salaries which were increased by six percent across the board in April.

The lowest paid registered nurse in government earns M9 500, while the entry level salary for a similar grade for nurses at Tšepong is M6 500.

Tšepong staff comprise health workers at Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital and workers at filter clinics around Maseru, which are run by the private health care group, Netcare.

The national organiser of Lesotho Workers Union (Lewa), Hlalefang Seoaholimo, said Tsepong health workers want to have salary increases to match those of their counterparts in the public service and to have the increments backdated  to April when civil servants salaries were adjusted.

“In case management does not give us a positive response, we have already made an urgent application in the labour court to determine whether employees under essential services cannot go on strike,” Seoaholimo said.

“Once the court has found out that not all employees are offering essential services we will apply for a court order that will instruct the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDPR) to issue a set down for conducting a vote for those who want to go on strike,” he said.

The management of Tšepong said they are still negotiating with the government to provide funds for salary adjustments for its employees.

Limpho Seeiso, Tšepong’s Public Relations Officer, said all the staff received their annual increments in April.

“The hospital is in discussions with the Ministry of Health to provide additional funds for salary adjustments to match the new public service salary scales,” she said.

“The hospital is classified as an essential service and a strike will therefore be illegal. The recognition agreement with the trade union also prohibits a strike.”

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