Public workers in Swaziland have been on strike since 21 June. They are demanding a pay rise of 4.5 per cent, well below the rate of inflation in Swaziland and a mere fraction of the 30 per cent pay rise that Swaziland’s parliamentarians have awarded themselves.
The strikers have been met by dismissals, riot police and armed forces’ intimidation and beatings, tear gas and rubber bullets. On 12 July, peacefully protesting public sector trade union members were fired upon by police – resulting in hospitalisation and injuries of at least 12 persons, some who were members of the Swaziland National Association of Civil Servants (SNACS) and the Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA). PSI sent a letter of protest to King Mswati III on 18th July.
Since 1 August, the government has also fired hundreds of teachers across the country, including the entire executive of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), a membe of Education International. On 3 August, the Industrial Court of Swaziland found that those dismissals were unlawful and requested the government to withdraw the letters of dismissal issued to the teachers.
The International Transport Workers' Federation has also expressed strong concerns at the arrest and detention of Bazel Tfwala, legal officer of the Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (STAWU). Simanga Shongwe, General Secretary of STAWU was also detained whilst protesting Tfwala's arrest.
Together with EI and ITF, Public Services International has organised a joint action on Labourstart. Please send letters of protest to Mswati III, King of Swaziland, urging him to meet the legitimate demands of public servants; and to ensure the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of dismissed public service workers and teachers.
Please click on the link to send your message online on the Labourstart website.