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MANZINI - #Operation ‘shut down’ Manzini, asinavalo (we fear nothing)!

This is the slogan which has been adopted by public sector associations (PSAs) as they gear up for their mass action in the hub of Eswatini today.
It is worth noting that there are three PSAs who are engaged in the ongoing strike action over cost-of-living adjustment (CoLA) and they are the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU) and Swaziland National Association of Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP).

In a statement which was released by the PSAs secretariat on behalf of their striking members, they said the general membership’s resolution of staging a mass action in Manzini today still stands.
“On Wednesday (today) there shall be an unprecedented and full-scale public sensitisation march regarding the CoLA in the Manzini City Centre by PSAs,” reads part of the statement.


They said this was because on Monday, the Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Commission (CMAC) invited them to an urgent mediation meeting in Mbabane, where they met with the government negotiation team (GNT).
During the mediation meeting, the secretariat said it was clear that the GNT had not obtained a full mandate on a better offer from Cabinet.
As a result, they said the GNT was ordered to ‘recharge’ its mandate from government before convening the round table.
“The GNT committed to refresh the mandate on Tuesday (yesterday) during a Cabinet meeting at the Hospital Hill,” the PSAs secretariat said in the statement.
They added that the GNT also promised that it would call another meeting to deliver its report in due course. However, impeccable sources within the unions revealed that the GNT had promised to meet them later yesterday, after the Cabinet meeting to be specific.
“As PSAs, we stated in no uncertain terms that we should be invited to the round table if and only if the GNT is bringing an improved offer from Cabinet,” they said.
On that note, SNAT Secretary General Sikelela Dlamini said they could not deliberate much since they had it in authority that government had allegedly said no amount of persuasion would make it (government) bend.  He said this exemplified an attitude of rigidity, and sentimentalism.  However, he said as unions, they still believed in dialogue and meaningful negotiations. On that regard, he said they were open to negotiations. He said only a sound and realistic offer from government would make them call off the strike.
“As things stand, the strike goes on in full force,” he emphasised. In their statement, which was meant to update the general membership, the unions’ leaders emphasised that it was all systems go for their mass action in Manzini today.
They told their members that they owed this to themselves as the success of their strike action would depend on how much effort they put in.
“Let us make sure there is a total ‘shutdown’ of all government departments in the hub of Eswatini on Wednesday (today),” the secretariat emphasised.
The civil servants’ strike action started last Monday where they staged marches in the four regions of the country. Last Friday, they held a joint mass meeting at SNAT Centre where they resolved to carry out ‘vusela’ exercises on Monday and yesterday, in preparation for today’s mass action.
They resolved to strike after government failed to adjust their salaries in 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years. Government continued to offer them zero per cent as CoLA in the two aforementioned financial years.

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