The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) called for a two-day strike action on 13 and 14 June to protest at the Swazi Government’s intention to reduce the wages of public employees.
The unilateral decision of the authorities will particularly affect all teachers, at a time when rising inflation in Swaziland has already cancelled out the positive effect of the last wage increase obtained by teachers two years ago. SNAT demands that the government stops these wage cuts and increases teachers’ salaries by 4.5 per cent.
In recent years, SNAT has been subjected to serious anti-union attacks by the authorities. In April 2011, EI condemned the violent crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy activists. One year later, the Swazi government decided to repeal the registration of the newly formed Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). Despite these repeated violations of their rights, Swazi teacher unionists have continued the struggle for fundamental workers' rights.
The ILO Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) has exposed the Swazi government, for a number of years in a row now, for serious breaches of ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association.
This year again, Swaziland was amongst the countries to be reviewed by the CAS at the annual ILO Conference, held in Geneva in June. Unfortunately, the International Organisation of Employers’ attack on the CAS has prevented any discussion from taking place (see here for more information).
In the name of its 30 million affiliates worldwide, EI expressed its solidarity with the SNAT and the Swazi teachers in their struggle for quality public education and an improvement of the status of teachers. EI urges the local authorities to take immediate action to ensure that teachers and all public servants have decent and adequate living and working conditions.