Teachers, Lutfo in deadlock
MANZINI – An eleventh hour intervention by Labour and Social Security Minister, Lutfo Dlamini, failed to convince teachers to aba-ndon their strike action to be held today in Mbabane.
The minister convened an urgent meeting with the teachers at the Manzini Regional Administration Offices, where he tried to convince them that the strike was illegal.
The teachers, who were led by Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) President, Sibo-ngile Mazibuko, adamantly said they had no mandate to call off the strike.
The minister was in the company of acting Labour Commissioner, Albert Simelane and Director of Education Sibongile Mntshali-Dlamini and Regional Education Officer, Regina Shongwe. Also present were senior police officers who included Head of Intelligence, William Mbhamali and Deputy Regional Commander, Musa Zwane.ã€€ The media was not allowed to be part of the meeting which began at about 3pm and lasted about 30 minutes.
In separate interviews, both the President of SNAT, Sibongile Mazi-buko and Secretary General, Muzi Mhlanga said today’s strike action goes ahead as planned.
Mazibuko said the minister’s efforts to stop the strike were welcome, but they had been overtaken by events.
"The minister said the strike was illegal in that there is a court order that was issued against it. However, what we deduced from his remarks was that he had shallow information as most of the things he was talking about had been overtaken by events.
We assume that the people we were dealing with in government did not brief him well," she said. Mhlanga said teachers would have had to call a mass meeting first before abandoning the strike. "We do not have a mandate to cancel the strike. We are going ahead as planned," he said.
‘Only CMAC can call us to table’
MANZINI – The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), said only the Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration Commission could call them to a negotiations table.
SNAT President Sibongile Mazibuko said teachers had also informed the minister that yesterday’s forum was inappropriate for the subject matter – the strike.
"We got a certificate of unresolved dispute from CMAC concerning the 4.5 per cent salary increment. Both government representatives and the union signed acknowledgement of this.
"If government has an offer to put on the table, it has to communicate to CMAC and CMAC will then call us to the table again," she said.
The president said SNAT only appreciated Labour and Social Security Minister, Lutfo Dlamini’s stance on the issue as just an effort to try and avert the strike.
"Abephalala nje minister," she said meaning the minister was just trying to help.
MANZNI - Minister of Labour and Social Security, Lutfo Dlamini, said the teachers’ march is unlawful because SNAT did not follow the channels of having a protest action.
He said SNAT had to understand that a protest action is different from a strike.
"In a strike the worker merely withholds his labour and may stay at home. However, what teachers say they will be doing tomorrow is a protest action and they have not followed the channels for holding such." He said he considered his meeting with SNAT executives fruitful in that he managed to tell them how they needed to follow the stipulated channels.
"My aim was to tell them that we need to find harmony in the industrial arena so that whatever happens is within the law. I said they must understand the difference between withdrawal of labour and protest action. This is especially because there is a court order stopping what they intend to do.
"Teachers must also take into consideration that when the no-work-no-pay rule is effected, it is not the organisation that suffers but individuals," he said.
Teachers plan to petition PM, 2 ministers
MBABANE – Teachers have planned to petition Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini and two Cabinet ministers on the demand for 4.5 per cent salary increment today.
Secretary General of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Muzi Mhlanga said teachers will meet at the Coronation Park and march along the city streets.
"We will deliver petitions to the Ministries of Public Service and that of Education and Training before proceeding to Cabinet," he said.
However, Mhlanga said logistics were not drawn in consultation with the police this time around.
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