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MBABANE – Next week Wednesday, civil servants will get to know how they will frustrate government.
This follows that the public sector associations (PSAs) will host a meeting to have the last planning session of their mass protest action scheduled for January 28, 2019.

Members of the PSAs are: the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU), National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU) and the Swaziland National Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP).


Secretary General of SNAT Sikelela Dlamini said the PSAs would be discussing a way forward following their impasse with government on the cost-of-living-adjustment (CoLA).
He said even if government implemented the no-work-no pay, they would go ahead with the proposed mass protest action.

The unionist said: “We are aware that they will intimidate us with that but we are ready and prepared to deal with it the best way we know how.”
Dlamini said no service would be rendered by civil servants on January 28, 2019.  This is a stance that they took last year after the deadlock with government.
After waiting for a new government, as their industrial action was deferred by the Industrial Court to last year November 28, 2018, the PSAs consolidated their stance to strike.

The unionist said schools would open on January 22, 2019 as anticipated but that they would then engage in the protest action given that teachers were now living in debt due to failure to meet the inflation rate.

During their absence in schools, Dlamini said the police should take over schools and render the services they volunteered since the beginning of October 2018 when external examinations for Form Vs started.
During the 46 days that the police spent manning schools, a bill in excess of E40 million was incurred by government.


The Ministry of Education and Training rented 400 cars, fuelled them for the daily errands and bought food for the security personnel daily.
Dlamini said the security personnel were the right candidates to run the schools given that they ‘were of high preference’ by government as their stay in schools cost over E40m in just 46 days.

“They should go run the schools as we’ll be broke. Actually, let them interfere with our profession and bargaining leverage again,” Dlamini vented. Also, Secretary General of SNAGAP Dumile Dlamini cemented the mission to strike by civil servants.
She said following the deadlock that was signed by PSAs last November, PSAs had decided to strike.

“We’ll not engage the Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration Commission (CMAC) as all the processes were exhausted,” she said.
Meanwhile, Bheki Mamba, President of SWADNU, said his organisation would be engaging CMAC given that they cannot strike as they render 8essential services. He said they would be meeting as PSAs to discuss a way forward; however, for them, they had to engage CMAC as well.
Meanwhile, the proposed strike action on January 28, 2019 spells gloom for the citizenry as the deadlock was the second one by the parties in two consecutive years (2017/18 and 2018/19).
Leading to the proposed industrial action, negotiations between the PSAs and the government negotiating team (GNT) started in August 28, 2018. This was whereby the PSAs jointly sought a 6.55 per cent to cushion civil servants against inflation.
However, since then, the GNT maintained that government had insufficient funds to afford it.
The GNT presented zero per cent as an offer while the PSAs had none of it. Following this, the PSAs sought a deadlock. This industrial action will follow one that was initiated by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) hosted in September, 2018 countrywide.
This industrial action saw mayhem in all the towns of the country wherein the police and employees clashed. During this period, SWADNU members left hospitals and petitioned the Ministry of Public Service.
They voiced their grievance that they needed to get CoLA and also threatened to release patients at the National Psychiatric Centre as they had become violent due to the lack of medication.
Another week-long protest action was botched at the eleventh hour and deferred to November 28, 2018.
This industrial action was deferred by the Industrial Court citing that there was no government. It was proposed by SNAT. However, the association of teachers was not deterred as it engaged in activities that kept them from their workstations for a period of three days per week.
This resulted in government incurring a bill in excess of E40 million as security personnel were roped in at the beginning of external examinations. They began on October 1, 2018.
The unions want to lead their members in an industrial action over COLA for 2018/19 financial year, if the arbitration sought at CMAC falls through. This the second consecutive year government offered civil servants zero per cent CoLA demand as it did so even last year.

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