No January pay for LNBS contract workers



MASERU – Lesotho National Broadcasting Services (LNBS)’s contract employees will not get their January salaries as the Ministry of Information, Communications, Science, Technology, and Innovation tries to revise their contracts in order to comply with public service regulations. The employees’ contracts ended on December 31, 2023, but the ministry remains mum on the way forward. Employees who spoke to Public Eye say nothing was communicated at the end of their contracts and that they have not been told to stop coming to work either.

Some of these employees hold key posts within LNBS, such as being hosts of radio and television programmes, but their engagement is said to be outside the requirements of the public service.  Public Relations Officer in the communications ministry, Abeloang Ramakhula, confirmed that the employees won’t be receiving January salaries due to the expiry of the contracts.

Ramkhula said the ministry is attempting to find a solution both to the salary impasse and the engagement of the staff as directed by the Public Service. He said the Public Service has raised concerns about the manner in which the staff had been employed. “We were directed to comply with public service regulations, and that is what the ministry is busy with at the moment.”

Public Eye understands that Public Service’s concerns include that the staff must have relevant qualifications for the jobs they are doing. Ramakhula said they have had to facilitate training for some of the staff and that the process is ongoing. He could not be drawn to reveal how many of the staff have had to undergo training or how many have been affected by the situation.

Asked why it has taken so long to address the issue and when it will be solved, Ramakhula said: “We are not working alone in solving it; the public service and finance are involved, so I can’t really say how long it will take.” When it came to power, Prime Minister Ntsokoane Matekane’s government undertook to overturn the errors committed in the past, and depoliticizing and professionalising the public service was one such mission.

The Ministry of Public Service, Labour, and Employment warned last year of appointments being made in disregard of the law and regulations governing employment within the public service. The memo said the government discovered that ministries and departments “have been appointing officers without following proper recruitment processes.”.

“These are appointments that were not authorised by the relevant appointing authorities,” the memo said. On March 9, 2023, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour, and Employment issued another memo reminding ministries and the government about a moratorium on appointments, secondments, and study leaves. It said only critical positions would be filled but would need to be approved first.

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