Tens of thousands of garment workers in Lesotho waged a successful one-day strike for unpaid wages, returning to work after the government agreed over the weekend to honor the agreement it made in April to pay workers during the novel coronavirus lockdown.
Some 50,000 workers will now receive the $47 pay they were promised in April when their unions negotiated three months’ salary with the government. After paying one installment, the government refused to provide the rest of the negotiated wages. The workers are represented by the United Textile Employees (UNITE), National Clothing, Textile and Allied Workers’ Union (NACTWU) and the Independent Democratic Union of Lesotho (IDUL).
“The strike was very successful because workers have now realized that without them coming together as one, there is nothing that they will get,” says IDUL Deputy General Secretary May Rathakane.
“They have realized that without unity, there is nothing and unions working together made them realize the importance of unity.”
Unions say the government deployed special forces in the capital, Maseru, and surrounding areas, with police shooting one worker three times with rubber bullets, and beating and arresting others.