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UK unionists jet into SD

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MBABANE – The deregistration of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) continues to attract international concern as unionists from the United Kingdom and Holland have travelled to meet with local labour unions’ representatives.

A meeting between the unionists and the local labour unionists who formed part of the executive of deregistered TUCOSWA was reportedly held at The George Hotel yesterday.

During the meeting, the unionists are said to have offered the locals support in their bid to contend the deregistration.

President of TUCOSWA, Mduduzi Gina, said the reason for the meeting was out of concern to discuss issues touching on TUCOSWA which was recently deregistered by government.

"The unionists from the United Kingdom and Holland are currently in the country to meet our affiliates from the public service sector which include the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SDNU)," he said.

He said they would continue being in constant communication with the unions as they have pledged to help them.

He said during the meeting the unionists from the two countries pledged to continue supporting them in all their plans.

"They also wanted to know the status of TUCOSWA in Swaziland. They also promised to assist us in all our plans," he said.

Gina said the unionists would also be meeting their affiliates in the public sector to discuss a number of issues.

He disclosed that last week they also met with members of the Southern African Trade Unions Coordination Council (SATUCC) where government was also present.

He said SATUCC advised government to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with TUCOSWA as it was discovered that most of the unions and organisations in the country were registered under Section 27 of the Industrial Relations Act.

TUCOSWA was deregistered by government in a move widely seen as an attempt to silence the organisation.

TUCOSWA was born out of the amalgamation of the then Swaziland Federation of Labour (SFL) and the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) and subsequently joined by the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT).

However, the Attorney General (AG), Majenkhaba Dlamini, advised the Commissioner of Labour that TUCOSWA was improperly registered and this led to the deregistration of the federation. This is further confirmed in a letter dated April 2, 2012, written by the AG which was addressed to the secretary general of the organisation.

The AG in the letter stated that it had come to his attention that the Commissioner of Labour registered the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland as a federation under Section 27 of the Industrial Relations Act, 2000.

"Be advised that a proper reading of Section 27 and 29 of the Industrial Act reveals that your entity/federation was erroneously registered by reason that the provisions relate only to registration of organisations," he stated.

 

Since then unionists from across the world have expressed their concern over the manner the deregistration occurred.

There have also been calls for TUCOSWA to be re-registered.

Minister Lutfo warns unions

MBABANE – The Minister of Labour and Social Security Lufto Dlamini has warned the unions against having any meetings with organisations which have not informed government of their mission.

He said in this particular case government was not aware of the meeting between the two parties when called for comment yesterday afternoon.

The minister who is currently in Qatar attending a series of meetings said any organisation which comes into the country to discuss certain issues has to follow the protocol.

"Any organisation or union that comes into the country for any meeting must first inform government through the relevant ministry. There is protocol that has to be observed before they come into the country," Dlamini said.

He said a week ago they were visited by members of the Southern African Trade Union Co-ordination Council (SATUCC) which is the main regional trade union organisation in SADC.  

The minister said before coming into the country they first wrote a letter to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security seeking permission and they were granted.

"I am not aware of this meeting as nothing was formally communicated with the ministry. Any members of an organisation or union who come into the country have to ask for permission from government and state their agenda," Dlamini said

The minister said they do not know the agenda of the unionists who are reported to be in the country and he personally believed they have come for other things not issues touching on TUCOSWA.

He said during the meeting with SATUCC members, he advised them on how they could resolve the issue of TUCOSWA.

The minister said unionists should stop having meetings with people who are not known by government and instead they must tell the workers the advice that SATUCC gave on how the impasse between government and TUCOSWA can be solved.

 

He said people should stop using the name of workers to push their own agendas as this portrayed a bad picture of the country to the outside world.

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