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Textile worker shot during protest

A textile worker was shot and injured during a violent confrontation with security guards at the Vishan Clothing factory in Maputsoe on Tuesday night. The worker was rushed to Motebang Hospital in Hlotse where she is receiving treatment.

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Trade Minister Mokhethi Shelile told thepost that he will investigate the matter “so that we can form an informed opinion on the matter before reaching any conclusion”.
“Workers have a right to strike as long as the Labour Code has been followed,” Shelile said.
He however could not be drawn into saying whether the workers’ strike was legal or not.
Shelile said he had heard that the employer had implemented a no-work-no-pay policy at the factory which triggered the violent protests.
Labour Minister Tšeliso Mokhosi said he was aware of the workers’ grievances adding that he was working on the matter.
“We will address their issue,” Mokhosi said.
The workers told the Basotho National Party leader Machesetsa Mofomobe, who visited them yesterday, that the employer paid them half-salaries while others were not paid at all last month.
The employees started protesting on Tuesday morning and refused to leave the factory premises in the evening saying they saw security guards removing some of the firm’s equipment.
Some said they feared that the employer might close shop and flee without paying them.
The security guards drove them off the premises by force, resulting in a confrontation that led to the shooting of the worker.
Melita Mosoang said she worked for Ace Apparel for 18 years until December last year when the directors disappeared.
She said Shelile and Mokhosi brought Vishan Clothing and promised to track down the old employer so that they could be paid.
She said the promises never materialised.
She said the new boss paid some of them salaries as low as M2 000 in March. Others were paid as little as M100 or M200 while others were not paid at all.
“We are aware that the ministers are fighting for their own salary increase, yet they do not bother to rescue us from this abuse,” Moshoang said.
She said the security guards should not have shot her colleague last night because “we were there to protect our factory because we saw the security guards taking out some of the equipment”.
She said during the shooting they ran inside the factory and the security guards entered and insulted them while switching off the lights.
Mofomobe said the government “should think of bailing out the employer as they did with Stone Xi”, an Australian of Chinese descent who was running the Thaba-Bosiu Wool Centre.
“I will have to pass an urgent motion in parliament,’’ Mofomobe said.

Khahliso ’Molaoa

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