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‘Don’t deal with TUCOSWA’

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image Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini.

MBABANE - TUCOSWA has been dealt with another devastating blow as parastatals have been sensitised to take the hard line on all unions that affiliate to ‘unregistered clusters’.

 TUCOSWA is the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland. Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, when addressing heads of government parastatals, said management must only work with clusters that are recognised by law.
The meeting, held on May 22, was purportedly the last consultative meeting that the PM will hold with heads of parastatals in the current term of office.

Minutes of the meeting state that the PM urged parastatal heads “to recognise labour unions that are recognised by and working within the Swazi legal system. The PM urges PEs to be cautious of the clusters that then tend to develop within the labour unions and cautions PEs not to recognise or not to deal with the illegal clusters.” When a question was posed to the PM on what he meant by clusters, he is alleged to have used the word inhlanganisela (coming together) to describe them, without mentioning the word TUCOSWA.

However, it is common knowledge that recently, government took TUCOSWA to court to determine the legality of its registration. The Industrial Court ruled that TUCOSWA was wrongly registered as there was no law supporting the formation of federations.

A labour consultant said if government says parastatals must not recognise unions affiliating to TUCOSWA, the implication is that employers may no longer facilitate the deduction of subscription fees from union members to TUCOSWA.
“This also puts to jeopardy the recognition agreements that exist between the unions and the employers,” said the consultant who did not want to be revealed.

TUCOSWA has been struggling to hold May Day celebrations for the past two years after government said the federation was illegal.
This year, leaders of TUCOSWA were placed under house arrest, while last year TUCOSWA banners were confiscated by armed police officers with some TUCOSWA chiefs being detained at the police headquarters.


Govt recognises TUCOSWA but ...

 MBABANE – Labour Commissioner Khabo Dlamini said there was light at the end of the tunnel as her ministry had drafted a Memorandum of Understanding with TUCOSWA.

“Government recognises that TUCOSWA exists according to its constitution but was found not to be properly registered in law. We have a general notice on how we will be working with TUCOSWA, which is registered in terms of its own constitution.
“According to the agreement we have with them, we will continue working with TUCOSWA until the Industrial Relations Act has been amended in Parliament.

Dlamini said until the Act is amended all federations in the country are not properly registered.
Among these, she said, were the Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce which was registered as a company and the Federation of the Swaziland Business Community.

TUCOSWA not pleased

MBABANE – TUCOSWA Secretary General Vincent Ncongwane said he was not surprised by the development.

“TUCOSWA is moving from crisis to crisis. If government wants employers not to recognise unions that affiliate with TUCOSWA why don’t they start with the public sector unions? Let them do that and the international community will see them for who they are.”
Ncongwane said workers also reserved the right to a protest action if a push comes to a shove.

He said if the move goes ahead, unionists who will attend the ILO Convention in Geneva would be sensitised to condemn government’s behaviour. The Industrial Court ruled that since the country does not have a law on the registration of federa-tions, TUCOSWA was, there-fore, wrongly registered. Following the pronouncement of the Industrial Court, government has since engaged TUCOSWA in talks for a solution to the federation’s crisis.


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