PRESSURE grew on Swaziland’s monarchy today to reverse its decision to dissolve all trade unions and employer federations.
UNI Global Union has added its voice to a chorus of international condemnation of last week’s diktat by Labour and Social Security Minister Winnie Magagula, instructing all federations to cease operation immediately.
The draconian ruling affects not only the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland and the Amalgamated Trade Unions of Swaziland but also the Federation of Swaziland Employers, the Federation of the Swazi Business Community and the Chamber of Commerce.
UNI general secretary Philip Jennings noted in a letter to the Swazi government that an International Labour Organisation fact-finding mission in January had recommended the registration of worker and employer federations.
But “the Swazi government has completely ignored these recommendations as well as repeated calls from the international trade union movement to respect rights guaranteed under international conventions ratified by Swaziland, in particular ILO Convention No 87.
“Instead you have now suspended workers’ right to freely associate and to carry out trade union activities.”
Mr Jennings’s protest follows attacks on the new ruling by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and South Africa’s Cosatu.
“The government claims that a technical oversight in existing legislation needs to be fixed to allow the registration of union and employer federations,” said ITUC general secretary Sharon Burrow.
“But there is no justification whatsoever in banning existing organisations while the government tidies up a legal mess that it is responsible for.”