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MANZINI – Seemingly, the PSUs’ plan to stop government from awarding EPA members and un-unionised civil servants CoLA has hit a snag, but they have not given up yet.

According to the public sector unions’ (PSUs) plan, they would have achieved this by applying for a court interdict, which would stop government from adjusting the salaries of some civil servants.  In their application, they said they would prove beyond reasonable doubt that Eswatini Principals Association (EPA) was an allegedly ‘illegitimate entity’, especially in the negotiations forum. Last Monday, government, through the Minister of Public Service, Mabulala Maseko, issued a statement where it stated that in terms of the 2022/23 cost-of-living adjustment (CoLA), the government negotiation team (GNT) and EPA signed a collective agreement on June 27, 2022.

The minister said they agreed to implement three per cent of monthly basic salary across the board, with effect from April 1, 2022, plus a once-off payment of one per cent of annual basic salary. However, it was specified that this would benefit members of EPA and un-unionised civil servants, meaning those who were members of unions which were organised under the banner PSUs would not benefit from the salary adjustment because negotiations between the trade unions and the GNT had not started. In fact, the two parties did not agree on the agenda and they reached a deadlock.

Following these developments, PSUs, through a member of their secretariat, Sikelela Dlamini, who is the Secretary General (SG) of the Swaziland National Association of  Teachers (SNAT), informed head teachers and deputies who are organised under the banner of  SASA that they had kick-started a process of trying to stop government from processing the CoLA agreement which it signed with EPA, through applying for a court interdict that would compel the employer not to implement the salary adjustment.


Worth noting is that government plans to adjust the salaries of the qualifying civil servants this month and  according to the PSUs plan, they were supposed to push to get the interdict before government ran the payroll. When this publication contacted the teachers’ union SG to check how far they had gone with their plan, he said it seemed to have hit a snag. He said this was because there was no head teacher who was willing to assist them by singing a supporting affidavit, which would support the evidence that would be in his founding affidavit.
He said some head teachers had promised to sign the affidavit, but by end of  business yesterday, no one had come forth. The unionist said without the signatures they needed, they would have no case.

It is worth noting that during their meeting at SNAT Centre last Friday, the head teachers and deputies who are members of SASA supported the move by PSUs to apply for the interdict. They even said they would support the trade unions in their plan to file an application for an interdict that would stop government from adjusting salaries of some public service workers.
They said they were supporting the idea because they were against the collective agreement which was signed by EPA and government. They argued that they could not accept the CoLA offer of three per cent and once-off payment of one per cent of their annual salary when the matter had not been discussed at the Joint Negotiations Forum (JNF) and no agreement had been signed by PSUs and government. When asked on their way forward, the teachers’ union SG said they were still in contact with their lawyers. “We are still trying to put it together,” he said.

Meanwhile, SASA SG Siphasha Dlamini said they had spoken to the relevant members and had promised to sign the affidavit. However, she said it was unfortunate that some people ‘indicate to the left, but turn to the right.’

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