MASERU — Lancers Inn employees have been on strike since Monday, demanding a 30 percent wage increment.
The workers, whose salaries range between M1 600 and M2 700, told the Lesotho Times that they have been pleading with the management to increase their wages since May.
Ramashamole Sesinyi of the Lesotho Workers Association (LEWA), who was with the striking workers, told this paper on Monday that the hospitality facility’s management had failed to meet with the workers to reach an agreement on employees’ grievances.
“We had set a date to meet with the employer’s representative in order to discuss the employees’ grievances in September but the management failed to turn up for the meeting,” Sesinyi said.
“In the previous meeting they had offered 25 percent increment but employees also needed benefits to go along with that offer.
“We scheduled another meeting for October but they never showed up,” he said.
The workers want the employer to contribute at least M8 000 towards funeral expenses upon an employee’s death.
They also want their employer to introduce a pension fund instead of the severance pay that they are currently offered on leaving the company.
In addition, the employees are agitating for a medical allowance of M200 per month and an increase in the overtime rate.
The Lesotho Times could not establish the exact overtime pay rate by the time of going to print.
One of the employees, who refused to be named, said the working conditions are unhealthy.
“We want to go for a medical checkup at least four times a year, for those who are working in the kitchen and in housekeeping where the chemicals they use might affect their health,” she said.
“When we have a family problem, they want us to use our annual leave days instead of giving us a compassionate leave,” she added.
The workers also allege that there is no clear wage structure.
“One of our chefs who has 20 years experience earns M2 700 while another with four years experience is paid M4 800 monthly.
“The woman who has 20 years experience was the one who trained the other chef,” she said.
In the event that a worker retires, the employees want that particular worker to be replaced by a child, sibling or relative of the retiree.
“When I retire, get injured or resign on grounds of health or in the event of death, the company should replace us with members of our family because of our loyalty.
“However, this matter is open for discussion,” she said.
Repeated visits to Lancers Inn to try and get the management’s side of the dispute were futile, with the receptionist at first saying the managers were in a meeting.
In the end, she said the managers were not prepared to comment on the strike.