Swazi Government tries to Block Teachers' Strike
Teachers in Swaziland are set to go on strike today in pursuit of decent salaries and education funding
The teachers struck for two days last week and voted for an indefinite strike to start today if no progress was made with the government. There are conflicting reports on the internet as to whether the strike has gone ahead despite a court ruling in the early hours of the morning which said that the strike was illegal.
Teachers and students have been in the forefront of pro-democracy struggles in Swaziland. Their strikes and demonstrations for education funding and a living wage have been met by police brutality and arrests over the last twelve months. Swaziland is ruled by an absolute monarch - recently feted by the Queen of England as part of her jubilee celebrations - and lives in luxury while the majority of the people live in poverty. At one point last year, education funding stopped completely.
Opposition is growing to forthcoming 'elections' in the country , where political parties are barred and 10 of the 65 members of parliament (which has little power) are chosen by the king. This situation does not stop the International Monetary Fund from telling the country how to rescue its finances - needless to say by cutting public sector spending rather than by giving the King's plunder back to the people.
During last week's strike, teachers were prevented by security forces from reaching the capital. This has been a pattern during all the actions and strikes over the last year. Swaziland's teachers are working in impossible conditions and struggling against a brutal dictatorship to improve education in their country.