Public service unions in Swaziland / eSwatini are set to strike on 16 September 2019, if they can get permission of the courts to do so.
Swaziland is ruled by absolute monarch King Mswati III and is not a democracy and industrial action can be stopped by the Industrial Court.
The unions are in a long-running dispute about pay increases to cover the rise in the cost of living. They had planned the strike last year and again in January 2019 but the Industrial Court ruled that it was ‘political’ because the strike-call referred to the government’s bad handling of the economy.
The government says it cannot afford to pay increases. Last month the Industrial Court confirmed the strike was illegal but also noted in its judgement that a strike that was called only for the purposes of gaining increased wages was not.
At a meeting on Tuesday (6 August 2019), four unions united as the Public Sector Associations (PSA), decided on the date. They were the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA) and the Swaziland Government Accountants Personnel (SNAGAP).
After the meeting SNAT Secretary General Sikelela Dlamini, told the Times of Swaziland the PSA would be guided by the Industrial Court ruling and prepare and issue new notices for the strike action slated for September 16, 2019.
The unions are also planning a series of other actions in the lead up to the strike.
The newspaper added, ‘Dlamini then highlighted why they resolved to engage in the proposed industrial action. He said seemingly, government was not willing to reimburse them the 14.5 percent which had been eroded by inflation rate from their salaries during the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years. He said in 2017/18 financial year, the erosion, was 7.85 percent while in the 2018/19 year it stood at 6.55 percent.’
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