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NATIONAL STRIKE LOOMS AS UNIONS LOSE

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MBABANE – A strike action could be in the offing for Public Sector Associations (PSAs).


PSAs are Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Swaziland Association of Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP), Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA), and the National Public Services and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU).
Government and the sector associations have failed to reach common ground on the former’s demand for a cost of living adjustment (COLA).


They are demanding 7.85 per cent. Their initial demand was 9.15 per cent but government maintains its offer of zero per cent.
The Industrial Court yesterday dismissed the PSAs’ application for the court to determine the cost of living adjustment matter after they reached a deadlock with government at the negotiating table.


Judge Nkosinathi Nkonyane said the parties were both aware as to which steps to follow in terms of the Industrial Act after they reached a deadlock during negotiations. The judge said this was acknowledged by the PSAs in their founding affidavit.
“This matter as it stands now is at a deadlock and the only option available under normal circumstances would be to embark on a strike,” reads part of the PSAs’ founding affidavit.


In dismissing the PSAs application, Judge Nkonyane, who sat with the members, Simon Mvubu and Gilbert Ndzinisa, mentioned that the associations had acknowledged in a clear language that the next step was to engage in a lawful strike.
This was after they reached a deadlock with the Government Negotiation team (GNT).


At the time they, however, said they were deliberately not exercising their right because of their own reasons.
The PSAs recently warned government about the consequences of a nationwide strike should push come to shove in the negotiations process.
In their application at the Industrial Court, the PSAs outlined the damage that would allegedly befall the country should they be pushed to a corner where they find themselves with no alternative but to strike.


SNAT Secretary General Zwelithini Mndzebele said since they were at a deadlock, the only option available under normal circumstances would be to strike, the effects of which would be devastating to the public.


Among other things, Mndzebele said if the associations were to strike, investors would have to consider the security of their loans and the investment they have made in the country.

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: Salary review/job losses
What should PSAs choose, job losses or salary review?