LCS salaries’ harmonization fight drags on



MASERU – Three years later, the Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) staff member are still up in arms pursuing the harmonization of the salary structure in the security sector. To date their request for harmonisation of the salary structure that was addressed and approved by cabinet on the August 8, 2019, is yet to be effected. Confrontation around this harmonisation of salaries within the disciplined forces began as early as September 2019 when the National Security Service (NSS) threatened to strike over the salary adjustments they anticipated at the time.

The decision to harmonise salaries between the army, police, correctional services and the NSS was deferred indefinitely by government. The move would have seen the harmonisation of the salaries of all the personnel serving in the four security agencies. The NSS had planned a strike for July 31, 2019, but called it off after they were promised their grievances would be resolved.

Cabinet had approved this plan, which was scheduled to be effective September 1, 2019. Communication from then Government Secretary, Moahloli Mphaka, to the Principal Secretaries in the Public Service, Defence, NSS, Police and Justice and Correctional services as well as Finance, dated September 10, 2019, states “please be advised that the decision of cabinet on the 8th August, 2019, under Memorandum C3(2019/10)97 as attached on the above subject matter is held in abeyance to allow Cabinet to advise itself on the implementation of this decision.”

As a result, concerned LCS on May 30 wrote a letter to the Minister Justice and Law, Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane, requesting a meeting regarding the harmonisation so that they can table their grievances which have been dragging on since 2019 to date.

They have, however, not received any response from the office of the minister. A similar letter was dispatched to Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro on July 7, highlighting the unexplained delay in effecting the approved harmonisation salaries. The workers say they feel neglected by Majoro’s government. Rakuoane has since told this publication that he is aware of the letter and the agreement on the harmonisation of the salary structure. However, he pointed out that they are at the mercy of finance ministry to proceed with the request.

“I totally agree and sympathise with them that this issue has been dragging since 2019, but we do not have money now,” he said. On the other hand, ASP Ntobane of the LCS public affairs office said he was not aware of any of the letters. “We want to be equal with our other security sector colleagues, and we have been pleading for so long, especially with our own minister; but it looks like all efforts are in vain. That is why we want to break the silence,” said one of the concerned members of from LCS who would not want to be identified for fear of reprisals.

In 2019, then Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane’s government made a last-minute decision to defer the harmonisation of the salary structure for the security sector after the plan had been approved as outlined in the August 9, 2019, memo.

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