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MANZINI – In what could be seen as a direct response to the head teachers’ statement, teachers  have said next week Tuesday will be an extended holiday.

On Tuesday schools are supposed to open for the first term of 2019 and head teachers urged parents to send their children to school on the day despite the challenges of food shortage, stationery and planned civil servants’ strike action.

However, teachers said from Monday, they would be attending union activities which were a build-up to their planned strike action set to start on January 28, 2019. They said these activities would run until Friday and would be followed by the mass industrial action on January 28, 2019, which would run until government gives the CoLA.

The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) Secretary General Sikelela Dlamini said this decision was taken during union’s general council (GC) meeting which was held at SNAT Centre yesterday.
He said during the meeting, branch leaders adopted the public sector associations’ (PSAs) joint plan of action for next week.


He said they agreed that they would mobilise all teachers in their branches to attend the planned meetings next week, starting from Monday.
Again, Dlamini said the agreement was that teachers would attend the joint branch meetings without fail because that was where they would come up with a strategy on how their nationwide strike action, set to start on January 28, 2019, would be carried out.

“Between Monday and Friday, teachers will be attending the joint meetings which will be held across the country under the banner of PSAs,” Dlamini said.
He added that the GC meeting agreed that any form of intimidation from the employer would be ignored. He also mentioned that the following week, starting from Monday to a date unknown, they would engage in a mass strike action, which would last until the employer heeded to their demand.

The secretary general also mentioned they were aware of the statement made by head teachers but said it did not affect them because as heads of schools, they were hired to manage the institutions on behalf of government.
For that reason, he said they could not say anything in public that would make the employer assume that they were failing to do their job.


On that note, SNAT President Mbongwa Dlamini warned head teachers who would intimidate teachers in any way. He said once they got a report of any form of intimidation of teachers by head teachers, they would be personal when dealing with it. 

“We are aware that the head teachers who usually do this are not members of SNAT and we will not leave a stone unturned about their personality,” he said.
On another note, the teachers’ union leaders said in every meeting with their four unions; SNAT, National Public Service and Allied Workers Union, Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) and Swaziland National Association of Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP) would be represented by members and leaders. 

They urged their members and teachers to be proactive during the meetings as it would be where they would make resolutions on how to carry on with their intended mass industrial action.


Meanwhile, efforts of getting a comment from the Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Public Service, Evart Madlopha, proved to be futile as his mobile phone rang unanswered for the better part of yesterday afternoon.

The last call was made at 6:59pm.
Civil servants resolved to strike after government offered them zero per cent as cost of living adjustment (CoLA) for two consecutive financial years; 2017/18 and 2018/19. During the 2017/18 financial year, their demand was 7.85 per cent while for the current financial year they want 6.55 per cent.

Their argument is that the inflation rate for the two financial years had eroded their salaries by 14.5 per cent and demanded government to reimburse them.

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