MASERU — Nurses at Tsepong Clinic are up in arms against their management demanding an improvement in their salaries and working conditions.
Tsepong Clinic is run under a partnership between the government of Lesotho and South African firm Netcare Group.
The nurses told the Lesotho Times this week that they are demoralised after management awarded “paltry” salary increments last month.
“Some of us received as little as M100 salary increment on April 1,” one of the nurses said yesterday.
The nurses said when they signed employment contracts when the health centre opened in April last year they were promised that their salaries would be reviewed annually in March.
“But we were surprised last month to discover that the salaries had not been reviewed by our employer as promised,” said one nurse who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“We cannot tell whether our salaries have been reviewed or not because our pay slips did not show the percentage increment,” she said.
The nurse said they later received letters from the clinic’s human resources department informing them that their salaries had been adjusted with effect from April 1.
The letter came after they had gone to the human resources office to ask about the slight adjustment on their salaries.
“When we wanted clarification our human resources manager seemed irritated because we went one by one to his office, that is why he decided to write the letter,” she said.
Tsepong executive director, Dr Victor Litlhakanyane, refused to comment when contacted yesterday.
“I cannot comment in public about issues that concern our employees. When they have problems they should tell the authorities not the media.”
Litlhakanyane however said he was not aware that the employees were not happy with their working conditions.
The nurses said they were still awaiting a response from their headquarters in South Africa after sending a list of their grievances in February.
Another employee said they were forced to work long hours but were not paid overtime.
“Our contracts say we should work 45 hours per week but this is not the case.
“We work abnormal shifts from 7am to 7pm.”
The nurses said they were promised a night shift allowance but the clinic had failed to honour its commitment.
They also complained that they were not given risk allowances given to nurses working for the government.
The nurses also alleged that management continued to deduct pension contributions from their salaries without showing them contracts signed with the insurance company.
“When we question this we are told that we should be grateful to have this facility in the first place,” they said.