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‘GIVE US 14.4% OR WE WORK 3 DAYS PER WEEK’

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MBABANE – Prime Minister (PM) Ambrose Dlamini has been given a 14-day ultimatum to ensure that civil servants get a 14.4 per cent salary adjustment in July.

 


This is one of the four demands which were tabled by civil servants, who were led by public sector associations (PSAs) in a march to deliver a petition to the PM’s Office yesterday.
Furthermore, civil servants want the PM to make sure that the joint negotiation forum (JNF) agenda, which would be drawn on Wednesday next week for the 2019/20 negotiations, includes CoLA for the current financial year.
Again, they demand that the premier should ensure that during the negotiations, there should be meaningful engagement on the issue of cost-of-living adjustment (CoLA).


In the event the PM fails to ensure that the issue on CoLA for 2019/20 is included on the JNF agenda, PSAs said they would be left with no choice but to negotiate that they work three days per week.
Their argument was that as it was, they were working five days per week but received a salary equivalent to three days, based on the erosion by inflation rate in the past two financial years (2017/18 and 2018/19)


In the petition, the unions said it was an indisputable fact that public servants had not been awarded CoLA for three years now (2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20) and this was an unfortunate state of affairs.  They said they heard that government argued that this was because it was going through a rough economic path as it was facing serious liquidity problems.


events


However, according to the unions, this was incomprehensible as government’s ‘body language’ was consistently giving them a totally different signal. Their argument was that the national events, which government continues to fund, together with the capital projects such as the International Convention Centre (ICC) continuing as if all was well in the country, was disturbing, to say the least.


On that note, they demanded that the PM ensured that CoLA for the past two financial years (2017/18 and 2018/19) should be awarded to civil servants by the next pay date, which is July 2019.
It is worth noting that during the 2017/18 financial year, civil servants first demanded 9.15 per cent as CoLA but they later slashed it to 7.85 after government tabled zero per cent, which it maintained until a deadlock was signed.


On the other hand, in the 2018/19 financial year, public servants demanded 6.55 per cent as CoLA but government offered them zero per cent.
With regard to the 2019/20 negotiations, the workers said the JNF was put in place for a reason and no one had a right to usurp powers thereof.


breach


In what the workers termed as a breach of the JNF, they said the PM communicated through the media that government would not award CoLA to workers until the 2020/2021 financial year.


“This was totally off tangent and as workers, we say that you had actually misdirected yourself in this regard,” the workers said to the PM.
Their argument was that issues for the JNF should be deliberated during negotiations without any undue influence from anybody, including the PM’s Office.

 

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