The striking textile and garment industry in Lesotho has been going on for 25 days. The textile and garment industry represents 20% of the country’s GDP. Two strikers have been killed by police actions, and the workers have been protesting the lack of an annual review of the minimum wage. The strikes are led by a coalition of trade unions and are aimed at making the government review the minimum wage.
Lesotho’s labor code
The Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) has the power to determine minimum wages and conditions of employment for employees. The Code applies to all employment types, including government and private sector employment and apprenticeships. However, there are several exemptions, including those for public officers and employees. The Minister may exempt employees in cases where the Code’s provisions conflict with international labor conventions. As a result, the minimum wage in Lesotho varies across industries.
Nonetheless, Lesotho’s Labor Code also allows for hiring non-citizens with a work permit. These permits are issued on a labor quota basis. Employers must prove that they have not found a suitable Lesotho citizen to fill the vacant position. Workers can renew or cancel their work permits at any time. The minimum wage in Lesotho is LSL1,238 per month for a general worker.
Its minimum wage
A recent minimum wage increase in Lesotho has angered the country’s textile unions. The unions are calling for the shutdown of several textile factories in Maseru, Maputsoe, and Nyenye. The government heeded the warnings of the unions and has recommended a statutory minimum wage to the ministry of labor. While the minimum wage is still a low amount, Lesotho laws prohibit employers from paying employees less than the minimum wage.
The increase was a much-needed step for the country’s apparel industry, but the government hasn’t implemented it. There have been a number of protests against the rise in the minimum wage, including the deaths of two workers. Security forces responded to peaceful protests by firing live rounds and rubber bullets, resulting in eight workers being hospitalized. According to the unions, government forces used special force to suppress the protestors, including a police officer who shot and wounded 12 people in Maseru.
Its annual review
The recent increase in the minimum wage was welcomed by the public, as it has spurred economic growth. Despite the recent increase, the government still has a long way to go before the Minimum Wage reaches the level that is considered sufficient for achieving its socially desired objectives. A recent study showed that Lesotho’s debt has increased from 48 percent of its GDP to more than 50 percent. This sharp rise is attributed to new external and domestic borrowing, and to the weakening of the rand. The country’s current debt levels reflect efforts to finance larger deficits in recent years.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on the economy. The country’s short-term outlook has been impacted by a significant drop in external demand for textiles and diamonds. The deteriorating external context has also caused the government to postpone the implementation of Basel II.5. In addition, Lesotho faces pressing fiscal needs. The IMF approved US$49 million to help the government address these challenges.
Its high HIV/AIDS prevalence
The effects of HIV/AIDS are widely distributed. These pandemics have caused social upheaval. In ancient Greece, the plague caused lawlessness and social upheaval. UNAIDS defines certain areas as pandemic zones, where the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is high enough to cause a significant death toll. These areas are marked by increased rates of HIV infection among intravenous drug users. In some regions, the disease affects women more than men and is the main cause of death in this group.
Although the global prevalence of HIV has decreased substantially since 2001, the number of people living with the disease remains high. One in five people with HIV is still unaware of their status, despite advances in HIV testing. In fact, there were 1.7 million new infections in 2019 – about 5,000 new cases each day. Progress in testing HIV remains uneven, between countries and by sex, and across regions. However, some countries have made significant strides.