Avani rehires 81 fired Sun employees

’MASENTLE MAKARA

The 81 Sun International employees who were fired after industrial action in 2014 will be re-instated in July following an agreement between the Government of Lesotho and Avani, the hospitality group which took over former Sun International facilities in Maseru.This was announced at a press conference on Wednesday this week after the government and Avani signed an agreement which would see the former Sun International workers back at work.

One of the victims Thapelo Monare told Public Eye: “Our problems started on 22 December 2014 after a dispute with our employer over salary increments.” While some chose to join the strike others opted to grudgingly accept the employer’s offer at the time. “Unfortunately the employer chose not to listen to us but instead decided to lock us out until we accepted what was on offer. The employer said we should leave our work premises until we accepted to take the offer.

“We did not agree with that because Lesotho is a sovereign country so, as a result, we could not agree to give away our rights which we are entitled to and that kept us outside work to date.” The workers experienced plenty of challenges and some even died as a result of poverty. “Most of these people are bread winners and it is very unfortunate that some people lost their lives. Surely if workers’ rights were protected we would not be saying this.” Some of the employees’ children had to drop out of school because there was no money to pay school fees, he added.

“We are glad with what happened today because these people are going to be able to provide for their families. We applaud this government because they worked hard to resolve this matter. We tabled our complaints with the past government but they did not listen to us. But this government, through the ministries of finance and trade, were there for us all the way. I wish they could do the same with other workers from other sectors.” “We should also thank the media.

It is the norm to cry to media, but when things get settled, we never go back to thank them. We have been addressing this matter on radios, in newspapers and other media platforms. They were there for us from the beginning until today and we are thankful. You are the reason why the government heard us so please continue doing the same with other similar problems.” Among those present was the Minister of Finance, Dr Moeketsi Majoro, Minister of Trade Tefo Mapesela, Avani General Manager Willem Van Heerden and the workers’ union General Secretary Ts’eliso Ramochela.

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