Varsity accused of ignoring court orders, workers rights

Coletu general secretary Vuyani TyhaliBy Limpho Sello

MASERU — Congress of Lesotho Trade Unions (Coletu) says the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (Luct) is using its cosy relations with the government to disregard court orders and workers’ rights.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the Coletu general secretary Vuyani Tyhali said Luct lost a labour case against lecturers it had fired.

The university, instead of either reinstating them or paying them their full severance packages, offered them half of what the court had awarded them.

Tyhali said when the workers declined the offer the university asked Education Minister ’Makabelo Mosothoane to talk to them.

He alleged that the minister told the workers that she would never entertain their issues after they rejected her suggestion that they should accept the university’s offer.

Tyhali said when some lecturers approached her to intervene after the university refused to renew their contracts the minister said she was tired of dealing with Luct issues.

Tyhali told a media conference that Mosothoane told them to leave her alone.

Mosothoane, he said, told the lecturers to leave her alone because she is not the one who employed them.

Tyhali said the minister’s reaction has left Coletu wondering “who among the politicians is brave enough to stand up to the university”.

“We have heard that the university management brags about having softened the government,” Tyhali said.

“We want the government to clarify its stance on the issues of this university and we challenge the nation to show how they feel,” he said.

Coletu said in 2011 Luct used its relationship with the then government to disregard workers’ rights.

In December last year Luct lecturers went on strike because they were not satisfied with the way the varsity’s management was dealing with their issues.

Two lecturers were fired for allegedly discussing their problems on radio.

Three more were told to leave when their contracts ended.

In August this year the contracts of two more lecturers, Sekake Mohale and Seipati Sekokotoana, were not renewed.

The lecturers approached Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing who allegedly referred them back to Mosothoane.

Efforts to contact Mosothoane were not successful last night.

The Luct spokesperson Tefo Macheli said “it is a lie that the school bragged about softening up the minister or the government”.

“We work together with the government of Lesotho under the Ministry of Education. We do not soften up governments,” Macheli said.

“Coletu is misleading itself and it is lying,” he said.

Macheli said “it is another lie that some lecturers were expelled because of being in a lawful strike or airing their views about the school on air.”

On the court case he said no lecturer has ever won any case against the university.

“I won’t say much on this issue because it is sub judice,” he said.

“We have a pending case with some of them in court.”

Macheli said they have warm relations with the Luct Academic Staff Union and “it is improper for Coletu to speculate on things that are not there”.

A former lecturer, Malefetsane Nchaka, who is a Coletu member, said the university had refused to renew lecturers’ contracts despite that they had received favourable assessments from their supervisors.

He said the Limkokwing management “knows how to victimise people once one exposes their bad doings”.

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