By FORTUNE NDLANGAMANDLA | 2018-01-14
Swaziland Revenue Authority (SRA) workers yesterday voted to go back to work this Tuesday (January 16).
The over 300 workers agreed to suspend their strike which has dragged for more than a month to give way to talks between their union, Swaziland Revenue Authority Workers Union (SRAWU), and management.
The workers were demanding the authority to grant them an additional 6.5 per cent on top of the 6.8 per cent that SRA gave them as cost of living adjustment. The 6.5 per cent is a balance of of 13.3 per cent which they initially demanded from SRA at the beginning of negotiations.
Convincing the unionists to go back to work was SRAWU Secretary General Moses Masilela at a meeting held at the Bosco Skills Centre.
Initially, workers voted to go back to work on Wednesday after choosing from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, January 22 and February 1. However, after voting for Wednesday, a speaker asked to be given a chance to voice out his views, saying that said it would be wrong if workers chose Wednesday just because they wanted to continue staying at home.
He then asked Masilela to give the pros and cons of going back to work on Wednesday. The speaker feared that despite voting for Wednesday some workers were going to report to work on Monday since some had reportedly indicated thoughts of abandoning the strike.
He said some workers were willing to take the opportunity extended by the employer which gave them a chance to return to work before 5pm tomorrow.
It was then that Masilela and the rest of SRAWU leadership had a brief meeting from which he said he had been reminded that their talks with management were to resume on Tuesday.
“Your delay in going back to work would have a negative impact on the scheduled talks as they can’t resume without you returning to work,” Masilela said.
He jokingly said SRAWU was imposing that all workers should report to work on Tuesday as their return and the meeting would take place the same day. He then urged workers to not go back to work on Monday despite the opportunity extended by the employer. Some speakers continued to raise concerns that returning to work would have a bad impact on SRAWU and its members as management might never take them seriously again.
Masilela assured workers that SRA would never underestimate SRAWU and members because returning to work on Tuesday is per their own terms and not the employer’s.
He further pleaded with union members not to report to work tomorrow because by doing so they would have to sign consent forms as part of the arrangement by the SRA management.
He said going back to work did not mean the strike was not effective enough.
He added that should a need arise to prove that workers can go on a much lengthier strike, they would not hesitate to do so.
Some speakers called for protests such as go-slow and targeting the country’s big events. They gave an example of the forthcoming 50/50 double celebrations. Almost all of the speakers except for one thanked their leadership for advising them right by suggesting suspending the strike.
They shared sentiments that there was a high possibility that workers were going to return to work on Monday in fear of not getting paid even on February.
The workers said the call by their leaders to suspend the strike while workers were united showed good leadership skills.
He said SRAWU leadership had seen that management had realised the need of engaging the union in a more positive manner. He divulged that SRA urged the union to stop attacking management through the media. Masilela told workers that they would be informed in due time on shifts and times they would be expected to report to work.
We had to suspend strike – SRAWU
Swaziland Revenue Authority (SRA) workers were yesterday told that the Prime Minister Dr Sibusiso Dlamini had instructed the SRA management not to entertain the workers union.
This was revealed by the Swaziland Revenue Authority Workers Union (SRAWU) Secretary General Moses Masilela at their meeting at the Bosco Skills Centre.
Masilela said the PM had said for as long as the strike was ongoing, the union was in the wilderness.
It was for that reason that the strike was to be suspended to make way for the proposed revived talks.
“We have a chance to go back to the very same enemy and attack from where they are standing. We must retreat and strategise. We have seen that we stand a chance to attack while you comrades are still surviving,” Masilela informed the workers.
He mentioned that as much as the management had invited them to the revived negotiations SRAWU, was going to the talks with both eyes wide open.
“We don’t trust them but at the same time we don’t want you to suffer and perish in the wilderness.
Let’s give them the benefit of a doubt,” Masilela said.
He said it would be a good move to give management the round table as per its request. Masilela noted that the no work no pay was a thorny issue in every struggle. He added that with the understanding they have, SRAWU has come to conclude that the government had come to appreciate that there is SRAWU.
“Bayamati SRAWU,” Masilela said. Masilela also praised members of the union for the unity they displayed throughout the trying times even when management was intimidating them through the media.
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