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MBABANE – Are security guards charged with absconding and deserting duty when the go to the bathroom?

About 350 petitioned the minister of labour and social security yesterday, to convene wages council meetings urgently and attend other pressing issues like work conditions.

They complained about long working hours, lack of tea and lunch breaks and limited bathroom breaks. The guards, through their union, the Swaziland Amalgamated Trade Unions
(SATU), staged a protest march through town to deliver the petition at the ministry.


Led by Secretary General Frank Mncina, the workers handed the document over to Fannie Mkhonta, a representative of Minister Makhosi Vilakati, by the main entrance to the inter-ministerial building.

Before the handover, Mncina addressed the workers and said the figures presented by government on inflation were quite unbelievable.
“It is not true that the inflation rate dropped to 1.8 per cent at some point.”

He said security guards were adversely affected by the deteriorating conditions of work, which he attributed to lack of wages discussions.
“We need to correct the 12-hour shift for security guards to the standard eight hours and then consider the excess hours as overtime,” he said.
He said they would continue to petition the ministry until the conditions were reviewed.


“We want one-hour lunch breaks and 30-minute tea breaks. We are tired of standing on our feet for 12 hours while on duty.
We are tired of being charged with absconding or deserting duty when we go to the bathroom.”

The guards also said they had noted with concern that the discussions between government and their parent organisation, the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) were occurring over and over again for a long time without bearing the desired fruits.
“We hereby petition the honourable minister of labour and social security over his inability to convene Wages Council meetings for the Private Security Services Industry for the current year, 2019/2020.”


It further stated that failure for the ministry to convene such meetings had already deprived the security guards of an annual increase for the current year.
“This state of affairs has created financial hardships for security guards and employers have benefitted in the process.
As a step towards ensuring that wages discussions take place, the union allegedly presented names of workers’ representatives in the Wages Council to its federation, TUCOSWA.

 “We therefore call upon the minister to convene the wages council meetings as a matter of urgency.”
Accepting the petition, Mkhonta said he would hand it over to the minister and also promised that a response would follow immediately.

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