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MANZINI – Teachers are not going to school today. The educators took a resolution not to go to work during a meeting held at the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) Centre yesterday.

They resolved to accompany their National Executive Committee (NEC) to the Joint Negotiation Forum (JNF) today, to give moral support to their leaders as they negotiate the cost of living adjustment with government. The teachers were not pleased about government’s zero per cent offer during the last meeting and labelled it as an insult to the civil service.
This will be the second consecutive day that some teachers will not be reporting for duty.

Close to 4 000 teachers attended the meeting. They disputed that government did not have money.
They said government screamed being broke when it came to issues of civil servants. They were worried about what they termed the willy-nilly spending by government. They were puzzled by that ministers flew in and out of the country frequently, and deduced that there was no way that government would claim to be broke.

Stating their mission today, they clarified that they would not be striking but merely giving support to their leaders. Some likened the situation to a person working in a pigsty. They said such a person ended up smelling like the pigs. In explaining this, they said they would accompany their leaders not because they did not trust them but because they wanted to ensure that they stuck to their mandate, and not be seen to be easily convinced by what government was telling them.

The teachers want government to table a better offer and stated that today would be the day they got what was theirs. They said they would be outside government offices ready to shove back into the negotiation room the government team, should it attempt to leave without tabling a ‘good’ offer. Some indicated that they would accept at least 4.5 per cent from government.

There was a feeling that government was pulling civil servants’ leg by tabling zero per cent. They said government knew that civil servants would reject the offer and wanted to see what they would do about it. Without mentioning names, they were of the view that some people gave the impression that they liked monarchical democracy, while their actions proved otherwise.

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