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COURT STOPS SWAZILAND BUILDING SOCIETY STRIKE

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MBABANE – The move by employees of the Swaziland Building Society (SBS) to down their tools has been thwarted by the court, at least for now.


This comes after Industrial Court Judge President Sifiso Nsibande issued an interim order stopping them from proceeding with the strike action.
The matter was yesterday postponed to January 23, 2018 for arguments.


The order by the court comes after the bank’s lawyer, Musa Sibandze, filed an urgent application in the Industrial Court. The employees had been angered by their employer, by allegedly exercising powers it did not have then seeking the protection of the courts.


This is in relation to the matter in which they now want to down tools because the bank allegedly continued to disregard an order of the court compelling it to pay deserving employees a merit increment of five per cent of their basic salaries instead of one per cent.
According to the employees, the parties agreed on the five per cent increment but the bank unilaterally varied it.


In papers filed in court by the Swaziland Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (SUFIAW) responding to an application by the bank to stop the employees’ strike scheduled for January 15, 2018 over this issue, the workers say the bank did not explain how a disagreement on a negotiable issue cannot lead to a strike action.


The notice to strike was issued on December 15, 2017. In a letter addressed to the Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration Commission (CMAC) and copied to SUFIAW, the bank notified the union that the intended strike would be unlawful. According to SBS Managing Director (MD) Timothy Nhleko, the financial institution and the union engaged in wage negotiations on May 5 and May 11 and it became clear that the parties disagreed on the manner in which the employer had applied the merit-based increment.

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