Tens of thousands of jobs were likely to be lost in Swaziland (eSwatini) because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to predictions from trade union and business leaders.
More than 18,000 workers in the Swazi textile industry were in danger of losing jobs or having salary cuts, according to Warnder Mkhonza, Secretary General of the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA).
Swaziland has been in partial lockdown because of coronavirus (COVID-19) since 27 March 2020. Many businesses were closed, but some, including textile factories, have been allowed to reopen.
Mkhonza said textile workers already earned ‘close to nothing’ and many textile firms had not followed government regulations set up for the coronavirus crisis about how to deal with lay-offs. He said workers who had returned to work had their salaries cut by half.
Separately, Business Eswatini Chief Executive Nathi Dlamini said it was inevitable that there would be job losses once the pandemic was over.
He said the pandemic had deprived Swaziland of revenues including tax income and employment. He said business performance had fallen to its lowest imaginable level.
In other coronavirus developments in Swaziland:
The COVID-19 Regional Response Teams reported that people in rural areas were not taking the pandemic seriously as they believed it was something that only affected urban areas. In one case a crowd of more than a hundred people had gathered for a soccer match and none wore masks. People took advantage of the setting and went about doing businesses such as selling food and beverages to the crowd.
MBABANE GOVERNMENT Hospital support staff said they were at high risk of contracting COVID-19 as they were not provided with personal protective equipment (PPE). They also said that a bus used to transport them to and from work was never fumigated.
AS OF 28 May 2020 there had been two reported deaths and 279 people tested positive for COVID-19, according to official figures from the Ministry of Health.
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