The UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for Swaziland to be suspended from the Commonwealth after the Swazi Government deregistered the only trade union federation in the kingdom.
The TUC protested to the Swazi High Commissioner in London and the Commonwealth Secretary General, after news broke that the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), which was formed last month (March 2012), had been deregistered by the government amid suspicions the move was in retaliation for the federation’s public stance on the need for democratic reforms in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
TUCOSWA is also due to play a leading part in mass protests for democracy in Swaziland planned for this Thursday (12 April 2012).
In a statement the TUC said, ‘General Secretary Brendan Barber has protested to the Swazi High Commissioner in London, as well as to the Commonwealth Secretary General, reiterating the Commonwealth Trade Union Group’s demand that Swaziland be suspended from the Commonwealth for human and trade union rights abuses.’
The TUC is joined by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in calling for Swaziland to be suspended from the Commonwealth.
In a letter to the Swazi High Commissioner, the TUC said the deregistration undermined the Swaziland Government’s ‘attempts to persuade the international community that reform is underway. We are sure that the International Labour Organisation's Committee on Freedom of Association will add this to the charge sheet against your Government at the ILO Conference this summer.’
It added the deregulation breached the ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association.
The letter continued. ‘While the government has in recent years done some efforts to convince the ILO of its goodwill, e.g. by accepting ILO missions on Swazi territory as well as ILO assistance to amend its legislation, this is yet another illustration of how serious it really is about implementing Convention 87.
‘The ITUC is appalled by this latest disruption of the Swazi trade union movement and by its cynical argumentation, which it protests and denounces in the strongest possible terms.
‘We demand that the deregistration of TUCOSWA to be immediately and unconditionally repealed, and for the Swazi government to stop interfering in internal union affairs and to respect Convention 87, which it has ratified.’
SWAZILAND GOVERNMENT ATTACKS TRADE UNIONS
UNION ATTACK: FULL TUC STATEMENT
UNIONS: LETTER TO COMMONWEALTH
UNION ATTACK: LETTER TO SWAZI HC