Staff take Capello restaurant to court

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Bereng Mpaki

FIVE employees of Capello (PTY) LTD, a cocktail bar and restaurant located at Maseru Mall, have filed a Labour Court application to compel their employer to drop charges of gross insubordination and insolence leveled against them.

The five, Mpho Ntebele, Matšeliso Motsie, ‘Mapelele Mphana, Teboho Molieleng and Keitumetse Lebina stand accused of gross insubordination, insolence and being under influence of alcohol.

They are currently suspended from work pending completion of internal disciplinary processes. The restaurant employs 18 employees.

However, they argue that they are being unfairly singled out for punishment over their failure to report to work- something which was beyond their control as they had not been paid their salaries hence they had no money for transport. The case is set to be heard on Friday.

According to the papers filed in the Labour Court by Advocate Bokang Martin Mohanoe instructed by K.D. Mabulu & Co as legal representatives for the applicants, the complainants failed to report to work at the beginning of April 2017 along with the rest of the employees because their employer had delayed to pay their salaries for the previous month.

The employees inquired about the delay in the payment salaries and according to the court papers, they were told by management the delay was due to the system upgrade that was going on at Standard Lesotho Bank, “which turned out to be a lie as employees enquired and were told that no monies were generated for payments of salaries on their part”.

Only one employee who banks with FNB Lesotho was paid on 4 April and the rest were paid on 6 April.

The court papers further indicate that this was not the first time payment of salaries was delayed as it also happened at the end of February 2016 when the General Manager told the employees not to come to work until paid, which they did along with the general manager.

The papers further show that the management of Capello did not provide employees with alternative means of transport to ensure they get to work as they did not have transport fare since they had not been paid.

The applicants along with other employees only returned to work after receiving their salaries, upon which the five were allegedly singled out and charged by management for gross insubordination, insolence, and being under influence of alcohol.

The applicants want the management of Capello to drop the disciplinary proceedings it is contemplating against them as their charge is inconsistent and of discriminatory nature since some of the employees who did not come to work due to late payment of salaries have not been charged as well.

They also want to be paid their salaries until the disciplinary process has been concluded.

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