31 October 2011
Unions call off protest action
IN light of a court order obtained by government, unions have called off the protest march which was scheduled for tomorrow (1 November 2011) until Saturday.
Instead, the executive of all the labour unions; Swaziland National Association of Teachers, Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions as well as Swaziland Federation of Labour would deliver petitions to the High Court and the ministry of labour.
Secretary General of the Labour Coordinating Council, Muzi Mhlanga said they received a court order yesterday, which was brought by police officers.
Mhlanga was responding to Minister of Labour and Social Security, Lutfo Dlamini’s statement, where he pleaded with the unions to respect the court order which was issued on Friday.
Organised labour wanted to march over the delay by government to address the judicial crisis, the failure to address workers’ concerns on the tender board processes as well as what unions termed “relocation” of Tibiyo and Tisuka TakaNgwane.
The minister said: “I wish to strongly advise workers not to participate in the upcoming protest action. It is unlawful and, therefore, not protected. Each worker should consider the implications of such an unlawful action.”
The minister spoke during a press conference, which he called yesterday afternoon.
Dlamini stated that the employers were also advised about the ruling of the court. He said if unions would defy the court order it would mean there was no rule of law.
The court order reads: “The intended protest action cannot be referred to as protected or lawful if the requirements of Section 40 have not been complied with.
The effect of the court order of October 28th, 2011 is that the respondents are interdicted or barred from going on with the intended protest action until the Labour Advisory Board properly constituted in terms of the Industrial Relations Act, 2000 (as amended) attends to the issues referred to it respondents within seven working days mentioned in the court order of the 28th October 2011.”
…Instead, they call night vigil for tonight
LABOUR has called a mass prayer which is expected to be held at the Roman Catholic Church in Mbabane tonight.
Secretary General of the Labour Coordinating Council, Muzi Mhlanga said everyone was welcome to the prayer.
He said after this, the executive of the, Swaziland National Association of Teachers, Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions as well as Swaziland Federation of Labour would deliver a petition to the High Court and the ministry of labour.
Some of the things the unions are complaining about are; government’s continued inability to meet the demand for the relocation of Tibiyo TakaNgwane and TisukaTakaNgwane, the judicial crisis and the failure by government to address the workers’ concerns on the tender board and the processes.
However, Mhlanga said they had since withdrawn the issue of the tender board because the ministry was still engaging them on it.
Unions had called a mass protest from tomorrow until Saturday but government acquired a court order which stopped the march. Civil society was expected to participate in the march.
Mhlanga said every member of the public was welcome at the mass prayer, which is expected to be held tonight until tomorrow morning.
Unions’ grievances not receivable – Lutfo
THE grievances submitted to the Labour Advisory Board (LAB) were not receivable and were thus rejected.
This was because workers did not mention any steps they had taken to solve the issues before embarking on a protest.
The Minister of Labour and Social Security, Lutfo Dlamini in a press conference yesterday said “the Labour Advisory Board at its meeting rejected all the notices, stating that they did not meet the key requirements of Section 40.”
The issues the unions wanted to march over included the delay by government in addressing the judicial crisis, failure to address workers’ concerns on the tender board and the processes and government’s inability to meet the “relocation” of Tibiyo and Tisuka TakaNgwane.
The minister said they were willing to meet the unions and discuss these issues with them.
He mentioned that the Minister of Justice and Constitutional affairs, Mgwagwa Gamedze was addressing the issue of the judicial crisis.
“Let the minister deal with this issue until such time that he says he has failed then we can involve ourselves,” said the minister.
Dlamini also noted that in a meeting the Labour Advisory Board had recently with the unions, a non-gazetted member was present.
He said the workers stated that this was an alternate member. “Our view as government is that the tripartite structure has joint custody of all employment and industrial relations regulations. To have a partner in the structure deliberately defeating the effective operations of such an important structure as the Labour Advisory Board brings to question the good faith that the partner brings to such a meeting,” said the minister.
The Secretary General of the Labour Coordinating Council, Muzi Mhlanga said the member did not know they were going to meet the Labour Advisory Board.
SWAZI GOVT TRIES TO STOP MASS PROTESTS