Two days after the down-tools by truck drivers transporting products of the Lesotho Flour Mills (LFM), service is back to normal and grain transportation ensuing.
This was said by LFM’s Motlatsi Shale from the Human Resources Department as he unveiled the short-term remedy to the drivers’ bathroom hurdle.
At the time they downed tools, the drivers said they were being denied access to the company’s toilets, taps and showers for fear of a heightened risk in the spread of the Covid-19.
According to them, they were seen as the likely hub of infection hence the discriminative conduct meted towards them as they travel throughout the country delivering grain.
However, according to Shale, the matter was solved and a short-term remedy implemented while working on a long-term one which is building separate bathrooms and toilets for the drivers.
“It is…agreed that our truck drivers will continue to use the toiles, showers and water in the LFM compound while the company is working towards building toilets and showers only for truck drivers to use on a permanent basis. We acknowledge that the treatment was bad and for that we apologise for the inconvenience caused by our actions,” Shale said.
In an interview with this publication, the truck drivers’ representative who is also one of the owners of the trucks Malataliana Malataliana, indicated that they had reached an amicable solution.
Malataliana pointed out that although the measures by the company we taken to protect others against the scare of the covid-19 infection, it was done without consideration of their needs too as truck drivers.
“The company put terms not allowing truck drivers to use the company taps, toilets, showers and no truck driver was allowed to be seen walking the company compound because it is believed that by so doing the risk of spreading the Coronavirus is heightened. This is because drivers may be super spreaders of Covid-19 because our drivers travel in all the 10 districts as well as to South Africa,” he said.
“The decision reached today may be temporary but I take it as a long term because it is going to take time to build toilets and showers. Today’s agreement was made verbally but we have been promised that a written agreement will be available soon to be signed by representation of both parties,” he said.
One of the drivers Antone Seitlheko, said the new terms had left them shook as such was conduct unheard of.
“We had been using the company’s property and were just surprised when told about the changes. It is true we travel a lot outside Maseru and to South Africa but we also still need proper hygiene. It is said we have to wash our hands regularly, so if we are not allowed to use the company taps we cannot do that. Some days we spend two days travelling and the only chance we get to bath is when using the showers at LFM,” he said, adding that they are pleased to be back at work.