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Factory workers demand salary hike

Factory Workers

Aug. 15, 2019 2 min read

MASERU – After a deadlock with the employer over salary increase, employees of Crabtree - a South African electrical accessory manufacturing company based in Lesotho have engaged on a strike.

The workers demand that their colleague who have been with the company for less than a year to be paid M1 879 from M1 678. They also demand M2 000 from M1 893 for their colleagues who have been working for the company for more than a year.  According to the secretary general of the Lesotho Workers Association (LEWA), Hlalefang Seoaholimo the picketing Crabtree workers are also members of the association. 

Mr Seoholimo said the workers demand M2 126 from M1 893 for their co-workers who have worked for the company for more than five years. “Workers who have been with the company for more than 10 years demand M4 500 from M1 893. The workers also demand a family responsibility leave of five days per annum to attend to their family issues but the employer only offers three,” he said. He said negotiations between both parties fell through because the employer did not offer anything even less than what the workers wanted arguing that business had not been good. 

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“We were open for negotiations even if the employer offered less than what the workers demanded, instead he offered nothing that is why we resorted to the strike,” Mr Seoaholimo also said. He added: “The company has been operating for more than 10 years in Lesotho, it exports to Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries therefore we believe they make good money. We asked them to show us their books so that we can verify their claims about bad business.”

Mr. Seoaholimo said their set minimum wage was only meant for the factory and textile workers and not the manufacturing sector.  He said they had also approached the Directorate on Dispute Prevention Resolution (DDPR) for intervention.  He said the workers would be on strike until the employer listened to their grievances and became ready to negotiate.

Attempts to get a comment from the company were unsuccessful as there was no one ready to talk.
Crabtree (PTY) LTD started its operations in Lesotho in July 2007. It is championed by Cabtree South Africa and the initial investment in the company was estimated at M5 million with 120 workforce out of which 100 are LEWA members. The company manufactures electrical accessories such as plugs, and extension cords for export to the SADC market.



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