THE Lesotho Brewing and Allied Workers’ Union (LEBAWU) has announced that on 21 November 2022, it is going to embark on a two months’ long strike until the employer, Maluti Mountain Brewery (MMB) gives them their increment as proposed.
In an exclusive interview with LEBAWU on Friday, some of its members who spoke to this publication on anonymity for fear of being victimised said they had already applied for their strike and would be picketing at MMB’s gates from 21 November until their employer hears them out.
“We have had unfruitful talks with our employer since 2021. In 2020 our salaries were deducted by 10 percent which was said would save employees from being sent home due to Covid-19, and that much we understood. We were told it was for Covid relief and this means that there was no increment at all. We all understood, moreso because we were told that it was deducted across Africa, though we later learnt that it was not true.
LEBAWU members said in 2021 they were given a 4.6 percent increment which was way below the eight percent inflation rate, and they have since compromised and gone down to 16 percent instead of the initial 20 percent they were demanding.
“We have had talks with the management since July, and we normally get our increment in September. We were demanding 20 percent of increment to our salaries and have opened the floor for talks, but unfortunately our employer doesn’t seem to be forthcoming. We even got into negotiations because we were doing it all in good faith, but unfortunately all in vain.
“Having failed to get what we want, we then decided to go to the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDPR) for mediation, and our employer is still not ready to give in to our demand hence we have applied for a strike which has since been approved after all procedures including voting were done. Our strike is a legal one and we’ll be picketing at the employer’s gates.
“We have announced a two months’ strike but should the employer want to engage in talks, we are flexible and ready,” said the representative.
Meanwhile the MMB management has since written a letter to their clients informing and advising them to stock ahead of the festive season in order to avoid stock shortage.
“This letter serves to inform you that MMB and LEBAWU have reached a deadlock within our wage negotiations for 2022. While we have not yet received a formal communication by a Notice to strike from LEBAWU, we would like to inform our valued customers that there is a possibility that a strike will take place in the next few weeks to come. Should the strike indeed take place, we anticipate the following interruptions to our services.
- Supply of products due to interruptions with the brewery process.
- Logistical constraint in delivering product to our valued customers.
“We therefore advise all customers to stock up as soon as possible to avoid out of stocks at outlets.”
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