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MATSAPHA – It’s up to government to decide whether or not to save the future of pupils in the country.

This is because the teachers’ decision not to open schools for the third term in protest over a zero per cent pay rise, which they took during their extraordinary meeting, held on August 24, 2018, has been endorsed.

The decision was endorsed by the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) 75/8 Biennial Conference which was held at Esibayeni Lodge yesterday.

The conference started on Sunday and ended yesterday. In fact, as from Tuesday, teachers will be engaged in different activities which will be a build-up to a mass strike action that will involve all the four public sector associations (PSAs) in the country. Besides SNAT, the other PSAs are the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU, Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) and the Swaziland National Association of Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP). According SNAT Deputy Secretary General (SG) Sikelela Dlamini, who is the teachers’ union’s SG elect, they met as PSAs over the matter.

He said the agreement was that they should use the certificate of unresolved dispute they got from the Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration Commission (CMAC) in January 2018 to engage in a lawful strike.  “This strike action will take place as soon as we finish the voting process, which will be conducted in a few days time as unions are already sensitising their members on the matter,” Dlamini said.
Furthermore, Dlamini said the unions who were affiliated under the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) would join the federation’s three-day protest action between September 18 and 20, 2018. On their own strategy, the teachers agreed that while waiting for the legal documents to protect them and engaging on the mass strike action over cost of living adjustment (COLA), they would be carrying out activities as a build-up to the main industrial action.
On Tuesday, September 11, 2018 when schools are supposed to open, the teachers agreed to convene branch meetings in all the 15 branches of SNAT across the country. They said during those meetings, they would sensitise members on preparing for balloting for the strike action using the CMAC certificate of unresolved dispute.
Thereafter, on Wednesday, the conference agreed that all teachers were expected to flood the Manzini Magistrates Court where their colleague, Maxwell Zondiyinkhundla Myeni would be appearing to face his seven charges. Myeni’s charges emanate from his encounter with Manzini Police Station Commander Raphael Maseko during their extraordinary meeting held on August 24, 2018 at SNAT Centre.
However, the teachers kept their plans for the other days close to their chest.
They said their intention was to take government by surprise so that it could not plan ahead of their intended actions.
Meanwhile, Dlamini revealed that as PSAs they decided to use the CMAC certificate of unresolved dispute because it did not expire.  However, most importantly, he said using it would leave  room for government to convene at the negotiation table for the COLA of 2018/19 financial year.
Meanwhile, the Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry Education and Training Dr Sibongile Mtshali said what they knew was that schools would open on Tuesday.

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