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image Minister of Labour and Social Security Winnie Magagula (C) speaking during a press conference held at the ministry’s conference room yesterday. She is flanked by PS Nomathemba Hlope (L)and Labour Commissioner Khabonina Dlamini. (Pic: Mduduzi Mngomezulu)

MBABANE – Government has ordered all workers and employers federations to stop all operations with immediate effect.

The bombshell was dropped by the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Winnie Magagula, during a press conference held at the ministry’s conference room just before 3pm yesterday.

Magagula informed the media that the resolution had been taken by Cabinet after a special meeting yesterday.
“In the interim all federations are non-existent in terms of the Industrial Relations Act and should stop operating immediately until the amendment of the Industrial Relations Act has been passed by Parliament,” said Magagula.

The minister, who was flanked by Principal Secretary Nomathemba Hlope and Labour Commissioner Khabonina Dlamini, said the ministry would, through a Certificate of Urgency, table an Amendment Bill in Parliament which was drafted in consultation with the workers representatives and employers to correct the oversight in the Industrial Relations Act (IR) of 2000 which failed to cater for the registration of labour and employer federations.

The minister said the amendment would outline the qualification or criteria for eligibility to be registered as a federation.
Such federations include the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce  (FSE&CC), Federation of the Swazi Business Community (FESBC) and the Amalgamated Trade Unions of Swaziland (ATUSWA).  

The minister could not be drawn to state if this would affect their affiliates directly, but said unions like the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU) would remain registered.  

“In winding up their operations, all federations are called upon to forthwith submit reports of their operations to date including their prepared audited financial statements to the commissioner of labour,” she said.

The minister appealed to all the stakeholders to assist government expedite this important exercise by offering their full cooperation. 
Magagula said following recommendations or observations made by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which had advised government on the need to amend certain provisions of the IR Act, making particular reference to the absence of legislation that allows for the registration of federations in the country.

“The ministry takes full responsibility for the oversight in the legislation that was promulgated without making provision for the registration of federations in the country,” said Magagula.
However, the minister stated that the same oversight also eluded the tripartite forum which comprised of workers union representatives, as well as employer representatives who were all involved in the drafting of the country’s Industrial Relations Act. 

Through the government press statement No.12/2014, the minister further stated that all membership in statutory Boards of the various federations had also been terminated forthwith and their representation in other statutory organs would come to an end.

The Boards that will be affected among others include the Wages Council, Labour Advisory Board, Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Commission (CMAC), Swaziland National Provident Fund (SNPF), Training and Localisation Committee and the Social Dialogue among others.
“His Majesty’s government wishes to affirm its commitment to providing a conducive labour environment in the country by adhering to all the conventions of ILO,” said Magagula.     

Comments (1 posted):

vikimpi mngomezulu on 09/10/2014 08:41:24
Cabinet behaves like a magician.They have just pulled a rabbit from a hat.They expect TUCOSWA to disband just like that.LOL.

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