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MANZINI – Following the banning of federations by government, workers representatives have agreed to march to various ministries to deliver petitions.

This was announced by Amalgamated Trade Unions of Swaziland (ATUSWA) Secretary General Wonder Mkhonza during a press conference held at the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) conference room yesterday. He said the march was scheduled for next Friday.
Calling for the march are TUCOSWA and ATUSWA. Mkhonza said the workers march, from several unions, was not only about the recent ban but the pending Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) issues.

“We will go to the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office to tell him that most textile workers are on antiretroviral treatment (ART) yet government has decided that those workers should lose their jobs. We will call upon the DPM’s Office, as a socially responsible ministry, to ensure that the workers have food to take with their medication after they would have lost their jobs at the end of December 2014,” he said.

Mkhonza said they would then proceed to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade to make sure that it brought jobs to the country. He said even though most workers were not happy with their jobs, they still looked forward to pay day but after losing their jobs at the end of December due to the loss of AGOA, the ministry should make sure alternative jobs are provided.

“We are saying the ministry should bring jobs to the country where people would be hired in masses,” he said. Mkhonza said, from there, they would then go to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to compel it to do everything in its power to make sure that the country retained it’s AGOA status.

“We want to warn the ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office to stop blaming unions and federations but focus on meeting the benchmarks. There are only five benchmarks and government should meet them and see if the country will not retain AGOA. We want to urge the ministries to make sure that government does what it is supposed to do rather than blaming certain people and unions,” Mkhonza said.

The five AGOA Benchmarks:
Full passage of the amendment to the Industrial Relations Act allowing for registration of trade unions and employer federations.
Full passage of the amendment to the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

Full passage of the amendment to the Public Order Act allowing for the full recognition of the freedom of assembly, speech and organisation.
Full passage of the amendment to Sections 40 and 97 of the Industrial Relations Act.

Dissemination and implementation of the Code of Good Practice on Protest and Industrial Action. 
The ministries the workers will deliver the petition and the demands:
DPM’s Office should make sure textile workers have food after losing their jobs because most of them are on ARVs.
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade should provide more jobs for Swazis.

Ministry of Labour and PM’s Office should make sure the country meets AGOA benchmarks and stop blaming unions and federations for the loss of SD’s eligibility.

Comments (1 posted):

Ngeke ningikhone on 10/10/2014 10:48:41
then they ask them selves why they lost Agoa, like real now are that not learned..????????

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