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MBABANE – The Industrial Court has stopped the intended strike by SEC employees today.

The Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC), ran to court to stop the strike which was voted for by the employees on Saturday during a meeting. The company was granted an interim order stopping the strike by the court. The workers had resolved to converge at the company’s head office today. The company had taken the Swaziland Electricity Supply Maintenance and Allied Workers Union (SESMAWU), their executive committee and members of the union to court. They argued in their urgent application that the intended strike was in breach of the employees’ terms and conditions of employment. The employees were also interdicted from participating in any action calculated or likely to constitute a deviation from normal working activities or disrupt same. The order was to operate with immediate effect. The court has also called upon the respondents to show cause why the interim order should not be made a final order on Friday (November 10). The secretary general of the union wrote a memo last night to all their members that a meeting held between the executive and SEC management had a resolution that the employees should refrain from embarking on the resolution to strike.

“Management has promised to push our issue with the intent of paying us our bonus soonest,” the statement reads. The union said management was worried that should they continue with the strike, such could jeopardise their efforts to have the workers’ issue addressed and it might affect the SCOPE’s attention in dealing with the matter. “Management has again emphasised that our bonus issue is being pushed through the relevant authorities on a daily basis. We therefore plead with you SESMAWU members to reconsider the resolution upheld, as we collectively strive with SEC management to have the bonus issue resolved amicably,” the executive said. They also communicated that they had been served with a court order stopping action and continuation of the intended action, and continuing with such would result in contempt of court. In a statement by the company, the employees were reminded that SEC was an essential service provider and their agreements did not allow employees to engage in a strike action. Management and the union executive members were locked in a meeting for the better part of yesterday, trying to come up with a solution to the issue.

It was reported a couple of weeks ago that the government, through the Public Enterprise Unit (PEU), informed some Category A parastatals, in writing, that Cabinet had taken a decision to halt the payment of bonuses for the 2016/2017 financial year (ended in March), while awaiting the approval of new guidelines for the payment of bonuses. The decision by government would see workers from about 50 public enterprises, including the University of Swaziland (UNISWA), Swaziland Railway, Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF), Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) and Swaziland Water Services Corporation (SWSC), to mention a few not getting bonuses.

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