Saturday 2024-02-24




By ZWELETHU DLAMINI | 2018-03-25

The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) has added six more issues on the list the union wants government to address.

The six demands that have been added include conversion of the Swaziland National Provident Fund (SNPF) to a pension fund; amendment of the Employment Act; triangular labour; expensive passports; improved social grants; and the cost of living adjustment.

This follows an announcement made by the trade union a week ago, that on April 13 it would lead a big march to deliver a petition to different ministries over 10 issues raised by its affiliates after a resolution taken during a meeting held at the union’s offices in Manzini.

These included the proposed increase in taxes, minimum wage, social welfare programmes, severance allowance and unfavourable labour laws.

TUCOSWA Secretary General Mduduzi Gina revealed that the union was aware that the legislation that would enable the conversion of SNPF to a pension fund was already in place and all that was needed was for the minister  to table it in parliament. He said this conversion would help members to get pension as opposed to getting a once-off lump sum when they retired, which he said was more like a savings scheme.

“This will mean that the scheme will no longer be a savings scheme but rather a social security. Right now the members do not benefit from the investments and proceeds of their money yet when it is a pension fund they would benefit long after they retire,” he said.

Gina said they had also noted that most of the leading chain shops and retail outlets employed triangular labour, resulting in meagre salaries for the workers, which  they were totally against.

He added that they had also launched two complaints regarding electricity tariffs, one being the  proposed 15 per cent hike and the introduction of value added tax (VAT) on electricity.

He stated that the union was totally against the taxation of any basic commodity, including electricity. “We wrote a letter to the ministry seeking an explanation on how they ended up deciding on the 15 per cent increase on electricity tariffs as they had said there would be a public hearing before approval but we have not been called and next month the utility company will increase the tariffs,” he said.

TUCOSWA Deputy Secretary General Muzi Mhlanga said this was just the beginning of the journey as more protests were to be staged if their demands were not met.

“We are beginning on the 13th of April. We have been writing to the different ministries concerned and they have not responded while others have provided unsatisfactory responses. For instance, we wrote a letter to the ministry of natural resources alerting them that we were against the hike on electricity tariffs and we are not happy with their response, just like several other ministries,” he said.


Mhlanga said more protests would be staged in three consecutive months; June, July and August.



The Federation shall be complaining about the following issues:


1. Cost of Living Adjustment


2. Minimum wage                          


3. Severance allowance                 


4. Solidarity strikes           


5. Replacement labour.  

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