BUTHA-BUTHE-China Geo construction workers at the Marakabei to Monontša road project on Tuesday downed tools vowing to continue until their wage demands were met.
Represented by the Construction, Mining, Quarrying and Allied workers union (CMQ) in the wage dispute, the workers had last November petitioned the Directorate on Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDPR) to compel their employer, China Geo Engineering Corporation (CGC) to address their grievances.
Among others, the workers want to be paid a minimum of M5000 per month as an international wage standard as opposed to the M2771 domestic industry standard they are currently receiving.
The dispute was initially referred to the DDPR on 3 November 2021 and was set down and heard on several dates and concluded on 15 February 2022 without an agreement between the two parties.
CGC was in 2018 awarded the M900 million tender by the government to construct the 60-kilometre road, which would form an international link between Lesotho and South Africa.
The construction involves upgrading the dirt road to a bitumen standard. It commenced in 2019 and is expected to be completed next year.
The strike balloting process was conducted on 11 February 2022 where 132 voted in favor of the strike with 22 voting against it.
“The legal strike is going ahead right now as we speak. There is currently no production going on at the Marakabei to Monontša road project as majority of workers have downed their tools.”
He said while the strike could delay works on the road project, the workers were prepared to engage in talks with the employer that would resolve their grievances.
“The workers are not gratified by delaying production on the project, they just want the employer to come to the table for talks,” Mr Mokhahlane said.