Forum urges govt to stop retrenchments



MASERU – The Lesotho Labour Movement forum has urged the government to hold back retrenchment of workers by employers under the pretext that production has ceased, especially in the mining and construction sectors and to include trade union work in the list of essential services list.

The forum comprising APTU, COLETU, LECODU, LLC, LTUC has also called for injection of financial resources by employers to support trade union organisations to avert the collapse of trade union organisations and support workers’ salaries for at least three months.

This they said in a press release issued on 18 April and signed by the Forum’s secretary Teboho Tolo. The forum also noted that it has been following with keen interest the political developments unfolding in the Kingdom of Lesotho amidst the global war against COVID-19.

While the focus of everyone has been on winning the war against the pandemic that is ravaging the lives and economies globally, the war requires the undivided attention of all sections of society which, among others, include workers, employers, governments, citizens and development partners, the forum said.

“The first response by the Government was a lockdown of almost all activities except essential services which unfortunately excluded trade union work.“Despite numerous challenges which include poor co-ordination and handling of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) supplies as well non-supply of the same to health care workers, the nation responded quite positively to the lockdown, save for some in high positions in Government who set a bad example by breaking the law with impunity,” reads the press release.

The forum further noted, however, that the nation was taken aback when on 18 April 2020 the Prime Minister took to national media to announce that he had ordered the army to get into combat mood to deal with what he termed “individuals who were hell bent on destabilising his democratically elected administration’.

The announcement by the Prime Minister followed the decision of the Concourt to throw out premier Thabane’s bid to prorogue Parliament bypassing the Head of State as required by the law. “In his statement to the nation the Prime Minister alleges that courts are being used by some Government institutions in the purported destabilisation project.

“This is unfortunate in the midst of war against COVID-19 for the head of government to attack institutions he is supposed to protect,” the forum noted. They add they expect the democratically elected government to respect and protect all institutions of democracy across the board since an attack on such institutions undermines the very democracy the Prime Minister is purporting to defend.

“We call for immediate prosecution of those who are misdirecting resources from the war effort, an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deployment of the army by the Right Honourable the Prime Minister to determine whether there is no case to answer for those involved.

“We also call for the fast-tracking of the exit of the Right Honourable the Prime Minister as he has requested earlier in his address to the nation, prioritisation of the National Reforms process to normalise society as a matter of urgency and prioritisation of the war effort against COVID-19 by ensuring proper and immediate supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all health workers who form our first line of defence and also demand expansion of involvement of trade union leadership in the National Emergency Command Centre (NECC),” said the Forum of the Lesotho Labour Movement.







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