Thursday, April 5, 2012


Public sector unions in Swaziland have started a series of demonstrations ahead of a national strike next week over pay.

Since Tuesday (3 April 2012) they have been picketing during their lunch hour at more than 20 places across the kingdom.

They want cost-of-living increases of 4.5 percent, but the Swazi Government has refused because the kingdom is broke. It has had difficulty in recent months in paying public sector salaries and wants to cut salaries by 10 percent.

Unions say there will be a one-day strike and mass protest next Thursday (12 April). They are also calling for the government, handpicked by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, to resign.

The Swaziland National Association of Teachers, the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union, the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union and the Swaziland National Association of Government Accounting Professionals are expected to take part in the strike.

The strike coincides with other protests slated for 12 April by prodemocracy campaigners in Swaziland. The date marks the day in 1973 when King Sobhuza II abandoned the constitution and began to rule by decree. To this day the monarchy maintains strict control in the kingdom and political parties and other opposition groups are banned.

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