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Swaziland: Stop the Crackdown on Public Workers

In partnership with the Education International, representing 30 million educators in education institutions from early childhood to university, and
Public Services International, representing 20 million working women and men who deliver vital public services in 150 countries, and
The International Transport Workers Federation, a global federation of 690 unions representing over 4.5 million transport workers in 153 countries .

Public workers in Swaziland have been on strike since 21 June. They are demanding a pay rise of 4.5 per cent, well below the rate of inflation in Swaziland and a mere fraction of the 30 per cent pay rise that Swaziland’s parliamentarians have awarded themselves.

The strikers have been met by dismissals, riot police and armed forces’ intimidation and beatings, tear gas and rubber bullets. On 12 July, peacefully protesting public sector trade union members were fired upon by police – resulting in hospitalisation and injuries of at least 12 persons, some who were members of the Swaziland National Association of Civil Servants (SNACS) and the Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA).

Since 1 August, the government has also fired hundreds of teachers across the country, including the entire executive of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT). (Pictured: SNAT General Secretary Muzi Mhlanga.) On 3 August, the Industrial Court of Swaziland found that those dismissals were unlawful and requested the government to withdraw the letters of dismissal issued to the teachers.

The ITF has also expressed strong concerns at the arrest and detention of Bazel Tfwala, legal officer of the Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (STAWU). Simanga Shongwe, General Secretary of STAWU was also detained whilst protesting Tfwala's arrest.

Join us in condemning the governmental crackdown on Swazi public workers by sending this message to Mswati III, King of Swaziland, urging him to meet the legitimate demands of public servants; and to ensure the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of dismissed public service workers and teachers.

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