Fac­tory, taxi unions de­mand PM’S ouster

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

AN al­liance of fac­tory work­ers unions and taxi op­er­a­tors has lent its sup­port to calls for Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili to re­sign for “fail­ing to pro­tect jobs” un­der the African Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act (AGOA) fa­cil­ity.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence also con­vened by the po­lit­i­cal party youth leagues in Maseru yes­ter­day, the unions and taxi op­er­a­tors said their fu­ture hung in the bal­ance be­cause of gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to en­sure Le­sotho re­mained el­i­gi­ble for AGOA.

AGOA al­lows cer­tain goods pro­duced in el­i­gi­ble coun­tries such as Le­sotho duty-free en­try into the United States mar­ket. The US gov­ern­ment has warned Le­sotho the “writ­ing was on the wall” for Le­sotho’s el­i­gi­bil­ity for AGOA and a sec­ond com­pact grant un­der the Mil­len­nium Chal­lenge Cor­po­ra­tion due to gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to ad­dress is­sues of “im­punity and the rule of law”.

The fac­tory work­ers unions were led by Sam Mokhele, Se­abata Likoti and Mon­a­heng Mokaoane while the Maseru Re­gion Trans­port Op­er­a­tors (MRTO) was rep­re­sented by its spokesper­son Makama Monese.

Mr Mokhele said the tex­tile in­dus­try was a ma­jor ben­e­fi­ciary of AGOA and los­ing it would spell doom to the coun­try’s economy as the sec­tor em­ployed an es­ti­mated 40 000 peo­ple.

“The pos­si­ble AGOA el­i­gi­bil­ity loss will re­sult in our al­ready strug­gling economy col­laps­ing and this will not only af­fect the tex­tile work­ers but many other busi­nesses. This is be­cause the sec­tor in­jects life into the economy on a monthly ba­sis,” he said.

For his part, Mr Monese said the taxi op­er­a­tors he rep­re­sents from the cen­tral re­gion of the coun­try were ready to sup­port the youth leagues.

“We are ready to with­draw our taxis from the routes they serve on a daily ba­sis to ferry peo­ple to and from work in sup­port of the call made by the youth leagues,” he said.

“We re­alise that not only are the jobs of the tex­tile work­ers in jeop­ardy but also masses of our clients would be laid off and our busi­nesses would col­lapse in the trans­port in­dus­try.”

Mr Monese also took is­sue with the gov­ern­ment over its de­ci­sion to award a ve­hi­cle fleet con­tract to Bid­vest Fleet Com­pany.

“We are also still con­cerned about the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion on the Bid­vest deal as the trans­port op­er­a­tors and we want them to re­verse the de­ci­sion as it re­sults in the ero­sion of our coun­try’s lit­tle wealth to South African com­pa­nies when we have lo­cal peo­ple who can do the job ad­e­quately,” he added.

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