By KWANELE SIBIYA AND SIBONISO NKAMBULE | 2022-09-22
Manzini - Government has stated that today and tomorrow are normal working days.
Deputy Government Spokesperson, Thabile Mdluli, stated that engagements between government and the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) were currently ongoing.
Mdluli said these engagements would hopefully lead to both parties reaching common ground.
The Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration Commission invited government and TUCOSWA to a mediation process following the federation’s decision to stage nation-wide protests to force government to respond to their demands over the escalating cost of services and commodities.
The protests were planned for today and tomorrow.
Mdluli said government's position at the current moment was that today and tomorrow were normal working days.
Further confirming government’s position was Ministry of Public Service Principal Secretary, Sipho Tsabedze, who categorically stated that the principle of ‘no-work-no-pay’ would apply to all civil servants who would absent themselves from work without any justification.
The principle of the ‘no-work-no-pay is a fundamental axiom in industrial relations.
Its philosophy dictates that when a person is employed, it is expected that the work assigned will be carried out.
When this work is not done, the employee is not eligible for payment of any salary.
According to Tsabedze, all those who will not be at work today and tomorrow will not be paid for those days.
His counterpart in the Ministry of Education and Training, Bhekithemba Gama, said operations in schools would continue as normal throughout the week as nothing was communicated to them about an organised mass protest action.
The education ministry further released a statement wherein it confirmed its position that schools remain open today and tomorrow despite the mass protest action.
The ministry stated that it was not aware of calls to close schools during the two days
“Therefore, teachers are all expected to be at school and schools are expected to operate normally during these two days,” reads the statement in part.
The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) President, Mbongwa Dlamini stated that if the ministry of education and training wanted teachers to stay away from the mass protest, it must file an urgent application in the court of law.
Dlamini urged all teachers to be part of the mass protest since SNAT was an affiliate of TUCOSWA.
Dlamini was in August slapped with three counts of misconduct and instilling fear and hatred after he advised teachers against reporting to work following security concerns, which government had dismissed.
He was charged for bringing the teaching service into disrepute by announcing that teachers must not go to school of which he was said to have contravened Section 15 (1)(g) of the Teaching Service Regulations.
However, TUCOSWA Secretary General, Mduduzi Gina, said the mass protest was legal and lawful and thus protected.
He said they followed all dictates of the law including all process as envisaged by Section 40 of the Industrial Relations Act, which was also supported by the SNAT president.
Gina said any attempt by an employer, including the government to scare workers through any other means would be unfortunate and could cause unnecessary tension in the workplace.
The Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) said it would discuss all matters relating to the protest with the relevant parties.
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