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Huge support for on-strike teachers

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BY NHLANHLA MATHUNJWA

 

MANZINI – The public might go without electricity and water following a decision by workers in some public enterprises to associate themselves with the ongoing teachers’ strike.

Teachers are demanding a 4.5 per cent cost-of-living adjustment on their salaries.

The parastatal workers through the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), to which they are affiliated, held a meeting on Friday, a week ago.

This was at the TUCOSWA offices in Manzini. The represented workers were from Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC), Swaziland Water Services Corporation (SWSC) and the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC).

The workers have given themselves until tomorrow to see if government and the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) find a solution that would end the strike.

If a solution is not found by tomorrow morning, they will meet will then decide how they are going to assist their colleagues.

During the meeting between executive members of the Parastatal Union Coordination Council (PUCC) who represented workers, it was resolved that parastatals should join the teachers because they are also affected.

It was agreed TUCOSWA should inform the affected stakeholders about the resolutions.

The workers, through PUCC, asked that TUCOSWA should continue monitoring the situation on the ground while it also informed others who might be affected in the process.

Mduduzi Gina, TUCOSWA First Deputy Secretary General, confirmed the resolution by the workers, saying they were still preparing letters that would be sent to concerned people or ministries.

"The meeting was held on Friday (last week) and the workers resolved to assist teachers," he said.

"Since teachers, through the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) are our members, we cannot pretend as if everything is normal. The teachers’ strike has affected all of us."

Gina said the public should not be shocked if some parastatal workers ultimately join the teachers’ strike.

"There is a possibility that the workers could join the strike as from Monday (tomorrow)," he said.

"However, this will be determined by what would be happening on the ground. The public should know we are taking the teachers’ strike very seriously, especially because there seems to be no solution in sight."

Gina said the public should be prepared as there might be no water and electricity.

"We understand that these companies are among those providing essential services but this does not mean we should stand aside while others suffer," he said.

"We believe that all services provided by employees are essential. If the teachers strike continues, we have to be united in order for our goals to be accomplished."

Gina refused to divulge the strategies to be used by the workers should they resolve to taking part in the strike.

"The only thing I can confirm is that workers have resolved to help their colleagues (teachers)," he said.

"Divulging the strategies to be used would not be proper for now. They will only be revealed when the time is right."

Meanwhile, Churchboy Dlamini, PUCC Secretary General who is also the Secretary General of the Swaziland Electricity Supply, Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (SESMAWU) also confirmed the meeting, saying the issue of teachers was also affecting them. "We cannot sit and be spectators while our colleagues are suffering," he said.

"We are also parents and, therefore, the strike affects us. If teachers are affected, we are also affected."

He said since they are affiliated to TUCOSWA, they would stick to all resolutions by the federation.

"TUCOSWA will give us the way forward on the matter but all I can say is that we will not sit and watch but we will act according to what the federation has decided."

Over 6 000 teachers have had their July salaries cut as part of the no-work-no-pay rule.

Some payslips reflected E0.00 as nett pay.

SAPWU to join teachers?

 

 

MBABANE – The on going strike by public servants over a 4.5 per cent salary adjustment is attracting interest from workers in other industries.

The Swaziland Agriculture, Plantation and Allied Workers Union (SAPWU) has resolved to join the teachers’ strike with immediate effect.

This means employees from companies including Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation, Peak Timbers, and Swazi Can, to name a few could soon be part of the indefinite ‘Waya Waya’ strike.

This was confirmed by Archie Sayed, SAPWU’s Secretary General, yesterday.

He said the union had decided to be in solidarity with teachers because government did not show any willingness to meet their demands.

"We feel that we are also affected because the situation in the country now affects everyone. If government has frozen salary increments, that would mean the other companies or parastatals will do likewise. Our children are currently denied education because government does not want to effect the 4.5 per cent increment yet there is Circular No.1," he said.

He said the union believed that Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini should swallow his pride and start accepting that things were not right in the country.

"He should accept the teachers’ demands because, by avoiding this, the country will soon be in doldrums," he said.

Sayed said they would be visiting 16 of their branches where they would discuss and strategise on how they would participate in the teachers’ strike.

"We will also be getting feedback from members about the current situation and how it affects them," he said.

He, however, said the general decision was that they would participate.

Efforts to get a comment from government spokesperson Percy Simelane hit a snag yesterday as his phone rang unanswered.

 

It’s govt’s call – employers

MBABANE – The business community has called on government to call public servants to negotiations.

Zodwa Mabuza, Chief Executive Officer of the Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce (FSE&CC) said if workers under government parastatals would take part in the strike, it will not be good for the country’s image.

"This will affect the business community because in almost all businesses we rely on the essential services," she said. "Most of these parastatals provide essential services and therefore it would be difficult to continue with our work if the workers happen to go on strike."

Mabuza said time had come for everyone to commit to a social dialogue where all these issues would be discussed.

"The only thing that would save us would be for the concerned people to engage in a negotiation process," she said.

"We should not allow a situation where the country would be on a standstill just because of protest actions. We need to find a way of avoiding such issues at all cost."

She still had hope that the unions involved will consider the fact that some of these companies provided essential services and find other means of addressing their grievances other than staging protest actions.

"We just hope the key parastatals will see to it that their operations do not come to a stop because the business community will really be affected."

Meanwhile, Bongani Mdluli of the Swaziland Consumers Association (SCA) said they were concerned about the ongoing protest actions as they were affecting the ordinary consumer.

"This is an unfortunate situation especially when workers who provide essential services are planning to join the protest action," he said

 

"As consumers, we believe that while they still address their grievances, they will make sure consumers are not affected. Government should also take a leading role and engage the concern parties and deliberate these issues so that the situation would normalise."


Comments

I have a question about this ongoing teachers strike, when the PM says he will fire all striking teachers and may close some schools if they don't return to class,is that a best solution? Why does he want to die with circular no.1 when the country is on fire? Mlangeni sicela live lemaswati lingafi etandleni takho,umdzala by age and status,don't fight fire with fire.let the the voices of the multitude be heard.pls use a different approach in this serious matter.
Jul 22, 2012, 7:26 AM, Lenhle Dlamini (vuyoheavens@gmail.com )

 

Teachers,students,parents and evryone including the so called forces must fight for fréedom, their rites 4rm d so called wicked gvt.what is good 4 u forces to protect people who do not care about you.u a now enemies 2 ur brothers and sisters yet u sleep wt water like us whom you beat during the march,stand up, 4 ur lives.you can be a police or warder or a soldier bt ur children,ur family,ur relatives are they not struggling .nalongayingeni akasalo ayingena@d so called PM must pay 4 this.let us fight until our enemies are under our feet
Jul 22, 2012, 7:26 AM, q m (qinisekilemade@gmail.co)

The English say "together we stand,divided we fall". That is an excellent move and I hope our government will get to see that it has been fiddling while Swaziland burnt. Way to go!
Jul 22, 2012, 7:26 AM, Zero (thubzero@hotmail.com)

ITS DISGUSTING TO THINK THAT PEOLPE ARE STILL RELATING TO THE PM'S IGNORANCE AND SELFISHNESS AS PRIDE, NO , ITS UTTER IGNORANCE AND SPITEFULNESS. THE WHOLE NATION SHOULD SUPPORT THE TEACHERS
Jul 22, 2012, 7:26 AM, MPUMIE VILAKATI (mpmvilakati@yahoo.co.uk)

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