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Minister pledges to improve Labour Code



MASERU – LABOUR Minister Richard Ramoeletsi says the government wants to strengthen the Labour Code to improve the welfare of workers.

Speaking on May Day celebration held at Durham Link on Monday, Ramoeletsi said workers, including civil servants, should enjoy “the fundamental right to communicate with their employers about matters related to their performance”.

“That is why we do not hesitate to show this by re-signing the Labour Relations (Public Service) Convention of 1978 to show political will,” Ramoeletsi said.

Ramoeletsi said the occupational safety and health has been recognised and included in the list of international laws for fundamental principles and rights at work.

“That is why the government didn’t waste time to recognise this law which is C187- Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention NO 187,” he said.

Ramoeletsi said the C155-Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No 155) “has been signed years ago”.

He said another law that the government has signed is one that prohibits harassment in workplaces, Violence and Harassment Convention 2019 (No 190).

“I believe you also know that the National Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health has recommended that the occupational safety and health law be made independent so that its importance is recognised as a law that covers the general working conditions,” he said.

“I am looking forward to the completion of the work so that I can put it before the parliament.”

Ramoeletsi’s assurances came amid howls of protest from workers who complained that the Labour Code 1992 is outdated and does not adequately address today’s workplace challenges.

Robert Mokhahlane, the secretary-general of the Construction, Mining, Quarrying and Allied Workers (CMQ), said “there are still challenges as we are saying because when we work, our custodians in matters of national administration are the government”.

Mokhahlane said there has to be a labour law that “should prepare us to work properly so that as trade unions wherever we have to advocate for the workers it should be an easy matter for us”.

He said in most cases the government, which is the custodian of the workers’ well-being, does not respond to their issues.

He accused parliament of sitting on a bill that would solve many of their problems.

The President of the Coalition of Public Employees (COLEPE), Mpontšeng Letsoela, said the delay of civil servants salaries this month has resulted in “a lot of people not being able to attend the National Workers Day ceremony”.

“All we want is health and safety and a good working environment,” Letsoela said.

Letsoela also said she felt like “we’re not being served with justice because every time we are promised an increase without being told when it will be”.

She also complained that in almost all times the increment does not become what the workers are expecting.

“This is the last time bearing with the government that gives us 2.5 percent increase, which we are not very happy with.”

Mpolai Makhetha & Tšepang Mapola

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