The Labour Court this week postponed to 14 January 2015, a case in which the National Union of Commerce, Catering and Allied Workers (NUCCAW) had applied for an order to stop Sun International Lesotho (SIL) from refusing its members entry to their workplace.
Advocate Poulo ‘Nono, who represented NUCCAW in the application, said the court had postponed the matter on Tuesday without granting the order, and also without establishing the facts of the case.
“There still seems to be an argument pertaining to whether indeed, there was a strike, with NUCCAW denying participating in any such industrial action, while on the other hand, Sun International is insisting the strike took place.
“The court has therefore asked to postpone the matter to next year following an establishment of viva voce evidence to rebuff all the allegations,” he said.
The matter, which was brought before Labour Court Acting President Malebona Khabo on Monday this week, followed the lockout of workers by management on 22 December 2014.
However, the NUCCAW application sought, among other things, the reinstatement of its members pending the finalisation of the matter.
The application also wanted Sun International to be stopped from forcing or enticing NUCCAW members to sign documents pertaining to the wage-negotiation dispute currently before the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDPR).
But Advocate Thabo Mpaka, who is representing Sun International in the case, said his client was determined to uphold the “lawful lockout” of the staff members.
“Sun International Lesotho has vowed to uphold the lockout which has been conducted in a lawful manner against the staff members who had refused to show-up for work on the 22nd December 2014, forcing us to act upon their strike action.
“Only 40 percent of our staff showed up for work on that day, while the others did not,” he said.
NUCCAW leaders have however , disputed any strike action ever took place, arguing they had, instead communicated to management an intention to strike which they later withdrew before the lockout was put in place.
Meanwhile, the locked out members could be seen gathered outside the Lesotho Sun premises this week.