Swazi Teachers Protesting earlier this Year
Trades unions in Swaziland - including the teachers' union - are calling for a global week of action for Swaziland
The week of action will be from the 5th to the 9th of September. In Swaziland itself there will be mass demonstrations in five towns. The Swazi unions are asking trade unionists around the world to support them including by petitioning their governments to take action against the Swazi government - the last absoloute monarchy in Africa. They particularly want those governments with close relations to the Swazi government - such as the UK, the US, the European Union and South Africa to derecognise the government.
The Swazi National Association of Teachers has been in the leadership of the fight against the government and for an end to the dictatorship. As a result they have suffered violent repression and some of their leaders have been detained (see previous posts). Some student leaders are still being held in Swazi prisons.
Althoug Swaziland is a dictatorship it is still subject to the demands of the IMF and World Bank . The World Bank website exhorts Swaziland to turn to the private sector to promote growth and points out that low labour costs make it a good place to invest. The IMF insisted that Swaziland cut public spending by 10% earlier this year and told teachers' leaders that they likely would not be paid at all that month and that their already low salaries would have to be cut. At the same time as it forces cuts to teacher's salaries it says that "Swaziland’s education, training and skills development sector needs to significantly improve in order for it to more effectively contribute to the achievement of national development goals outlined in the poverty reduction strategy and action plan.”
The statement from the Swazi unions calling for support for their week of action is pasted below:
SWAZILAND FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS STATEMENT
ON THE GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION
5TH -9TH SEPTEMBER, 2011
The Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, committed to its obligation of being a vehicle for social, economic and political transformation in Swaziland wishes to inform its associates and the general peace living peoples of the world about the global week of action on Swaziland scheduled for the 5th to the 9th September 2011.
The weeklong action is a continuation of the agenda for genuine social and political transformation initiated by the Swaziland United Democratic Front and planned by its campaign wing, the Swaziland Democracy Campaign which the Federation aligns fully with its programs.
Mass demonstration in five town centres will characterize the action from the 5th to the 9th September, 2011. The Federation together with its allies, the Swaziland Federation of Labour and the independent teachers union, Swaziland National Association of Teachers have already lodged joint protests action notices in terms of the Industrial Relations Act procedures for the legalization of the week long action.
The demands amongst others include;
· The abrogation of the operation of labour brokers
· Withdrawal of a circular awarding hefty salaries and benefits to politicians.
· Non taxation of terminal benefits
· Judicial crisis
· Demand for the hastily opening of the University of Swaziland
The underlining demand being the call for a democratic Swaziland, the unbanning of political parties and the release of political prisoners.
We hereby call for solidarity from all genuine friends of the struggling people of Swaziland.
The show of solidarity may not be limited to the following actions:
· Petition deliveries to the nearest Swaziland mission offices in your countries
· Any regional or international office of importance i.e. SADC, AU, UN.
Petitions may also be delivered to some strategic countries with direct economic and political benefits to Swaziland, the Republic of South Africa, The United Kingdom, America, the European Union etc.
Comrades are hereby further invited to join the masses of Swaziland literally on the streets as they will be liberating themselves from the archaic, draconian and repressive Tinkhundla rule.
Your usual co-operation in this regard is appreciated in advance.
M. C. Gina