31 October 2011
Court stops unions protest action
MBABANE - The Industrial Court has issued an order stopping labour unions from proceeding with the protest action which was to begin tomorrow (1 November 2011).
The order, which was issued on Saturday, clarifies another order which had been issued on October 28, 2011, when the court had ruled that the unions should meet with the Labour Advisory Board within seven days to discuss the three issues they had submitted to the board.
The unions, after this ruling, indicated that they were to proceed with their protest action as the judge did not expressly interdict them from continuing with the protest action.
This prompted government to go back to court to seek clarity on the conflicting interpretations of the ruling. Industrial Court Judge Nkosinathi Nkonyane clarified the ruling by stating that;
"The effect of the court order of October 28, 2011 is that the respondents are interdicted or barred from going on with the intended protest action until the Labour Advisory Board properly constituted in terms of the Industrial Relations Act attends to the issues referred to it by the respondents within seven working days mentioned in the court order of October 28, 2011."
The order also states that the intended protest action cannot be referred to as ‘protected’ or ‘lawful’ if the requirements of Section 40 have not been complied with. Furthermore, in a matter in which government was represented by Tholi Vilakati, with no appearance from the unions, the judge ruled that the order was to be served on the respondents yesterday, between 7am and 7pm.
Service of the order was to be made on the respondents wherever they may be found and police were to assist in the service of the order.
The respondents in this matter are the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFL) and the Swaziland Federation of Labour (SFTU).
The Minister of Labour and Social Security Lutfo Dlamini advised workers not to participate in the proposed protest action, as it is unlawful and not protected.
He said each worker should consider the implications of such an unlawful action.
Dlamini added that if the protest action was to proceed after the order of the court, it would mean there is lawlessness in the country, as orders of the court are not adhered to. He also urged the unions to help give the justice minister a chance to solve the judicial crisis.
SWAZI GOVT TRIES TO STOP MASS PROTESTS