By Sifiso Nhlabatsi | 2019-06-18
Civil servants have since resolved to down tools next week Wednesday, as they will be marching to different government ministries to deliver petitions.
The decision to down tools in favour of a march was taken by Public Sector Associations (PSAs) in a highly-charged meeting held at SNAT Centre yesterday.
The PSAs resolved that they will all join forces to deliver petitions to different government departments. The PSAs will deliver petitions which contain a litany of issues affecting their operations and their members’ welfare.
During the meeting, the four Public Sector Associations which are; the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) and the Swaziland Government Accountants Personnel (SNAGAP), decided that it was about time government is petitioned for its delaying tactics.
This is because earlier this year, the Eswatini Industrial Court stopped a strike action by the public servants.
The strike action was stopped by Industrial Court Judge President Sifiso Nsibande. Initially, the public servants were last November granted a go-ahead by the court regarding a mass march.
The strike was scheduled for December last year, after the parties reached a deadlock on negotiations regarding the Cost of Living Adjustment (CoLA).
SNAT Secretary General Sikelela Dlamini said on Wednesday next week they would be visiting the ministry of justice on this matter as it has dragged in court for so long.
The last time the matter appeared in court members were informed that it is awaiting judgment and they are still waiting.
SNAT had initially planned to deliver a petition early this month but this decision was reversed.
The postponement, according to Dlamini, was made against the backdrop that the main objective of the exercise was to demand the reconvening of the Joint Negotiation Forum (JNF), which is a multilateral issue as it does not only affect educators but all workers under the employ of government.
Dlamini said as PSAs they have resolved that all of them would be delivering petitions next week; one petition will be delivered at the ministry of public service and another at Cabinet. Dlamini said they would also be delivering a petition to the ministry of health.
This is because, according to Dlamini, in the past few weeks they have buried a lot of their members and the shortage of drugs in hospital could be blamed for these deaths. Dlamini said their members were not well taken care of in hospital.
It was also resolved during yesterday’s meeting that the unions will also be visiting the accountant general’s office as they are claiming that their dues are not remitted on time. Dlamini said what usually happens is that subscriptions are not released in time.
Nurses, on the other hand, have made it clear that they will be mobilising patients to join them in their planned march on Friday to the deliver a petition to the ministry of health and Cabinet.
SWADNU President Bheki Mamba said whilst they would join their colleagues in next Wednesday’s march, they have decided to maintain their march on Friday because it talks to the delivery of services, not their bread and butter issues.
“We still invite the affected public to join us in this one because we feel it make no sense for us to remain silent when patients no longer get the service they require of us.
“It is on that basis that we invite everyone affected by our situation to join us,” Mamba said.
So dire is the situation in hospitals that SWADNU resolved that its members engage on a go-slow since last week to bring to government’s attention the shortages of drugs and in staff.
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