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Job losses shock labour federation



MASERU – THE Lesotho Labour Council (LLC), a federation of trade unions, has urged the government to collaborate with players in the business sector to improve the investment climate in the country.

The LLC told a press conference yesterday that it is shocked by the rate at which firms are closing and how jobs are being lost.

The LLC secretary-general, Paul Sematlane, said collaboration with all partners will be a good attempt to attract new sources of investments for purpose of job creation.

“The LLC believes that using economic strategies like ILO (International Labour Organisation) recommendation 204 on transitioning from formal to informal economy may be a positive step to be taken to attract more direct investment,” Sematlane said.

“This will be a good attempt to create more jobs in the informal economy,” he said.

The LLC raised its concerns about the state of the economy in general and the problems and challenges threatening workers.

The LLC called on the government to collaborate with social partners, businesses and labour “to come together to save and create jobs for the people of Lesotho”.

“The number of workers losing their jobs in the textile industry is escalating at an increasing rate on account of more and more factories closing,” Sematlane said.

He said between 2019 and to date, approximately 20 000 factory workers have lost their jobs, while others are kept under constant and frequently too long layoffs.

“Loss of jobs and unemployment are the biggest challenges threatening our economic outlook,” he said.

“The world of work is being confronted with various challenges on a daily basis.”

May Rathakane, the secretary-general of the Independent Democratic Union of Lesotho (IDUL) which is affiliated to the LLC, said it is worrying that there are no new factories opening in the country.

He said Prime Minister Sam Matekane promised to re-open and hire people in the textile industries two months after his inauguration “but even today no progress has been made with regard to the hiring and re-opening of those textile factories”.

“This has cost us a lot because many factories are being shut down as of late, many workers are staying at home,” Rathakane said.

“When we enquire about those issues, we are told that they are being solved and that worries us a lot because we see as if the government does not take the fact that there are no more jobs seriously,” he said.

“We were expecting that this lack of employment be solved as the government had promised while campaigning. We have not heard about even a single factory that is said to have re-opened so far.”

Rathakane said the promised opening of Ha-Belo factories seems a far cry.

“We are very much concerned that government seems like not to take workers’ issues seriously,” he said.

“We see factories being closed instead of re-opening and that worries us a lot as IDUL and other organisations.”

Tholoana Lesenya

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