RESOLVED; Nurses to join teachers' strike
MANZINI – If government found dealing with the teachers’ strike was a stroll in the park, they should brace themselves as nurses yesterday resolved to join the strike called by the National Association of Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU).
Teachers have been holding what they termed ‘consultative meetings’ as part of their plan of action to force government to grant them the 4.5 per cent cost of living adjustment. Their ‘consultative meetings’ have seen them not going to class resulting in parents also calling on government to make the adjustment on the teachers’ salaries.
The Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) National General Council met yesterday at Hope House where they decided to join the call for government to give teachers the 4.5 per cent cost of living adjustment. The National General Council consists mainly of regional executives and unit committees. This was to make sure that operations in hospitals and clinics continued uninterrupted. There were over 50 members in attendance but the media was excused and were only briefed on the resolution afterwards.
SWADNU President, Bheki Mamba as Council they reached a decision to join NAPSAWU from July 11-13 as they take this matter to the next level.
"Our demands are nothing out of the ordinary, we merely want a 4.5 per cent salary increment as well as salary restructuring," said Mamba. He said they have long been talking about the salary increment with SNAT and NAPSAWU and now they have all reached an agreement.
Adding, Mamba said they intend to deliver a petition on July 12, which is the second day of the planned strike. The petition is on the Public Service Bill, which he says needs to be reviewed.
When asked how they can afford to go on strike as they are an essential service, Mamba said only nurses who will be off duty or on leave on those days will attend the strike as well as the entire leadership committee.
"I don’t see how what nurses do on their off days and when they are on leave can be against the law, only nurses who are not on duty are expected to show up. All in all we are expecting a substantial number of nurses to show up," he said.
Dr. Steven Shongwe, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health, expressed shock that nurses had taken this decision. Dr Shongwe said he was expecting some kind of negations between the unions in question and government before such a decision is taken.
"I was not aware of this resolution, and I want to plead with the nurses not to join this fray. As a very essential service to the nation, the country would greatly suffer if they were to join the strike," said Dr Shongwe.
He further mentioned that he believes in dialogue and negotiation, and that he would like to urge the nurses to reconsider and put their matters on the table for negotiations.
Government Spokesperson, Percy Simelane could not be reached to comment as his phone rang unanswered. He was called at around 5pm and again after 6pm.
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