Waves of strikes and protests are expected in Swaziland in the days running up to the national election.
Public servants and others are protesting about poor wages. Teachers and nurses are expected to be among those stopping work for three days. The strike is being coordinated by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA).
The Ministry of Education and Training has announced schools will remain closed for the duration of the strike starting Tuesday (18 September 2018). In a poll 98.63 percent of teachers voted for strike action.
Workers want a national minimum wage of E3,500 (US$ 234.27) a month, and an increase in elderly grants (pensions) to E1,500. Public sector workers also want a cost of living salary adjustment. The Government says it is broke and has offered zero percent.
In a statement the Communist Party of Swaziland, which is banned in the kingdom, said workers also wanted the legalisation of solidarity strikes, an increase in health and education funding and an end to arbitrary evictions especially on the working class and poor.
Four major protests are planned for Tuesday in the cities and towns of Manzini, Mbabane, Siteki and Nhlangano.
Among the unions expected to take part are the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) and the Swaziland National Association of Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP).
The national election takes place on Friday 21 September 2018 in Swaziland (recently renamed Eswatini by its absolute monarch King Mswati III). Political parties are banned from taking part and people are only permitted to elect 59 members of the House of Assembly; King Mswati appoints a further 10. None of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people.
The King chooses the Prime Minister and government as well as top civil servants and judges.
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