2021 NEW YEAR STATEMENT BY THE AMALGAMATED TRADE UNION OF SWAZILAND

NEW YEAR STATEMENT BY THE AMALGAMATED TRADE UNION OF SWAZILAND
02 January 2021
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step towards the goals requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Martin Luther King
Withought a doubt the year 2020 remain to many and equally to the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA) the most difficulty year in recent history. It is in that vein that ATUSWA wishes to applaud the workers and in particular the members of our union for doing everything within their means in protecting one another, their families and the society against the spread of COVID-19. We wish to implore the workers to continue exercising great caution and restraint as the COVID-19 pandemic clowd hangs above each and everyone’s head.
In 2020 we saw our progress being derailed and delayed as our focus shifted from a fighting to a survival mode and we had to adjust. In February 2020 ATUSWA had already reported a dispute on wages and other conditions of service to the Concilliation Mediation and Arbitration Commission (CMAC) which it certificate of unressolved dispute is in our hands as we were already preparing what would have been a mother of all strikes in the garment industry. Our demand for E15 per hour remains on the table and if it is not met this year through table negotiations, we shall have no option but to demand for more.
As we close 2020, through ATUSWA deployees in the Wages Councils, in particular the Manufacturing Industry we have sorted the thorny issues around working hours, overtime, compassionate leave and in part maternity leave. We proud ourselves for being able to determine where and how we should fight our battles as a union. All we await now is for governnent through it agencies to publish the agreed new regulations which will address a lot of concerns from workers and ATUSWA members.
We applaud the ATUSWA family for fighting together in ensuring that our livelihood is protected during the lock-down that was impossed by governement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a fact that it is true and also true that it is a fact that had ATUSWA also accepted that the employers, government and ENPF had no obligation to come to the aid of workers during the business lock-down, workers would not have received the relief fund from Lidlelatfongeni and we are grateful to those bodies for finally acceding to the workers demand. We are quite aware that the E400 per month that was given to an individual worker is too little but the 25 Million that was donated by ENPF would have made a major impact had it been handled differently, in paricular in the manner that we have suggested as a union. We say shame to all emplloyers who saw the COVID-19 pandemic as means to further cheat workers by reducing their wages. We are quite aware that the COVID-19 Regulations favours the employers but we believe responsible employers should not use the pandemic to cheat workers. We further believe that government should have done more to protect workers whose gains are reversed by employers.
Since the unfortunate Industrial Court of Appeal judgement on SMAWU vs ATUSWA, our organization has never neglected the workers who are organized under SMAWU and we hope the legal battle would soon come to an end. We trust that the workers constitutional right to dertermine how they want to be organized would be protected by all of us wherever we are.
It is a pity that the ministry of Labour through the department of labour continue to neglect its responsibility. Despite the ministry having undertaken to investigate general refusal by employers to grant recognition to ATUSWA, the ministry has not decicively acted on their undertaking except to call the leaders of ATUSWA to a meeting to make presentations on a topic that is well documented. We call on the Commissioner of Labour to speed up this process. Actually it is this kind of attitude that ferment dishamorny in the labour space and robe the ministry the kind of respect it should ordinarily enjoy.
We recognize and appreciate the efforts and support from our international allies who have assisted ATUSWA to meet it strategic objectives. Without their efforts in 2020 we would not have been able to conduct the very important leadership training that was held around November and we would not have been able to conduct the research that has opened our eyes regarding worker rights violations in the garment industry which remains our highly organized sector yet the union is less recognized by employers who are mostly anti union. We are saddened that our efforts working with TUCOSWA have not yielded the desired outcome from government which continues to stand on the side of the employers who refuse to recognize that workers are human beings. Even our efforts with some good employers to make Swaziland attractive to significant buyers has hit a snag because of goverment failure to appreciate the importance of recognizing rights of workers and working together.
In appreciating TUCOSWA as a result of the federation granting ATUSWA exemption we wrote “the federation afforded our union a fighting chance and the support was a morale boosting on the leadership of our organization. We trust and hope that other unions that are and or would face the same challenges as ATUSWA, would be exempted so that they can stand on their feet again.” We again stand by what we said in November 2020. We are encouraged that TUCOSWA is vibrant again. The mere fact that affiliates of the federation are able to speak and support one another is a clear sign of a maturing TUCOSWA. TUCOSWA shall never again be an organization where views of an individual and his friends are beyond reproach. TUCOSWA should and we shall fight that it is trully a festival of ideas in a true democratic spirit rather than being a populists platform where unprincipled individuals are given the latitude to do as they wish without being challenged. Despite the double challenges of inside and outside forces we hope TUCOSWA will have an opportunity to reinvent itself in its coming Congress and we wish our federation a very succesful 3rd Quadrenial Congress.
We wish to remind workers and our people that COVID-19 remains a very big threat to life at this point in time, that it is a duty of each and every individual to protect one another from the virus. We wish to applaud, as we do all the front line workers, in particular the nurses as organized under our sister organization, the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU). To them we say, being accused of thieving while protecting our lives should not defocus them from their founding principles as a proffession. In the same vein we take off our hats to those whom we have lost due to COVID-19 and demand that the vaccine is made available to all citezens of Swaziland.
In the same spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King when he spoke about human progress, we implore workers particulary our members that we march side by side in buidling ATUSWA to be a mean, fighting machine which would deliver to all workers a better tomorrow. In so doing we should make sure that the unity and coercion that exist within our union is maintained and enhanced.
On behalf of the National Office Bearers, our staff and the entire leadership of the union we send our profound revolutionary greetings and wish our members, all workers; organized and unorganized, our legal team, our TUCOSWA family and our International allies a prosperous, peaceful and happy new year, 2021.
Issued by
National Office Bearers
May be an image of 5 people and people standing

STATEMENT BY VIRIOUS TUCOSWA AFFILIATES ON THE CHALLENGES FACING TUCOSWA

VARIOUS TUCOSWA AFFILIATES STATEMENT 29-11-2020 12-1 VARIOUS TUCOSWA AFFILIATES STATEMENT 29-11-2020 12-2 VARIOUS TUCOSWA AFFILIATES STATEMENT 29-11-2020 12-3 VARIOUS TUCOSWA AFFILIATES STATEMENT 29-11-2020 12-4 VARIOUS TUCOSWA AFFILIATES STATEMENT 29-11-2020 12-5 VARIOUS TUCOSWA AFFILIATES STATEMENT 29-11-2020 12-6 VARIOUS TUCOSWA AFFILIATES STATEMENT 29-11-2020 12-7

UNCARING ESWATINI GOVERNMENT DELAY ASSISTANCE DIRECTED TO WORKERS

UNCARING ESWATINI GOVERNMENT DELAY ASSISTENCE DIRECTED TO WORKERS

19 May 2020

The workers of Eswatini, particularly workers employed in the Textile and Apparel Industry, as organized under the banner of the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA) are dismayed by the shockingly uncaring stance displayed by his Majesty’s government towards them.

After the announcement by government to impose a partial lockdown, the Textile Industry Workers, as represented by ATUSWA started a discussion within the industry on how workers should be cushioned during the COVID-19 lockdown. ATUSWA proposals were widely accepted by employers and by government which was also served with same. This culminated to the adoption of the proposals, as they were made to form part of the government’s published the labour regulations to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

However after realizing that employers were finding it difficult to pay workers during the lockdown and the government was not willing to come to their rescue (workers and employers), the union staged a campaign which shifted the attention towards the Eswatini National Provident Fund (ENPF). The campaign included but not limited to engaging employers for support, by petitioning government and raising the issue directly to ENPF, asking same for financial assistance.

Despite government’s failure to appreciate the workers effort, we are pleased as a union that ENPF did not accept the government directive that workers should not be given their money which is their savings at the ENPF. The Provident Fund appreciated the fact that under all circumstances workers were not saying they wanted their savings in total but as the results of the lay-off they faced, they had no other source of income or means for living and their livelihood was negatively affected as they were unable to buy basic necessities like food, and henceforth they are at a brink of starving to death bearing in mind that those are among of the lowly or poorly paid wage earners in Eswatini.

We have information that on Tuesday the 12th of May after a merry go round, the ENPF governing body as supported by senior management of the fund took a decision to hear the voices of the workers, particularly the Textile workers who despite being employed live below poverty line. The ENPF decision as we understand it was to the effect that the fund would contribute E60 Million towards assisting workers in this crisis, which would mean that workers are given a fighting chance against the Corona virus because without such assistance the workers may survive COVID-19 but would not survive hunger.

We have been made to believe that others in the corridors of power are of the opinion that since some workers have returned to work, they no longer need the financial assistance. That suggestion is inhumane in many aspects and must be rejected with the utmost contempt it deserves. Even the few workers who are reporting for duty, they working seriously reduced hours and a large number of them are still at home not working after they were laid off. The consequences of low wages is that there is no room to reduce wages if and when there is a need. Workers are barely surviving and that is why some of the workers complement wages with money they get through prostitution and therefore to suggest that workers should live on E750 per month half pay which is an average for those workers who are back at work in the Textile Industry is inhumane and sadistic.

While government in engaged in bureaucratic processes and formulation of Regulations, workers will die and they will stripped of all human dignity, just because government want to follow due processes which are at a snail pace. The government should show great care and be empathetic more especially because the workers has found alternative means to address their challenges when in all fairness the responsibility to intervene in this crisis lied in the hands of the government; not ENPF or any pension or provident fund for that matter but all we see is a total disregard of the livelihood of the workers or Emaswati whose only crime is to be poor.

We call on government to immediately and without delay allow employers on behalf of their employees to start accessing the funds that have been made available by ENPF as means of bridging the gap between workers actual wages during the COVID-19 lockdown and what workers were earning before.

Issued by

ATUSWA Secretariat

WORKERS DAY 2020

workers day 1

TUCOSWA STATEMENT ON THE EXTENDED PARTIAL LOCKDOWN

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 TRADE UNION CONGRESS OF SWAZILAND (TUCOSWA)

Masalesikhundleni Street                                                            P. O. Box 1158
Plot #290                                                                                        MANZINI
Opposite: Lulama Health Clinic & Makhosi X-Ray               Tel: +26825059514
Email: tucoswa@swazi.net/tucoswa@yahoo.com
17th April, 2020

 TUCOSWA STATEMENT ON THE EXTENDED PARTIAL LOCK DOWN
INTRODUCTION

The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland in principle welcomed the 20 days partial lockdown earlier announced by the Prime Minister with the understanding that it was designed and intended to protect the citizens of the country against the spread of the deadly Coronavirus. Even at the time when the partial lockdown was announced we had already began a discussion to call for a total lockdown.
We tolerated the government pronounced partial lockdown believing that the Prime Minister was genuine in his undertaking that the government values so highly, the lives of all Emaswati and all the people who are resident in the country. We understood the government to be acknowledging that human life is sacrosanct and cannot be revived neither resurrected once lost and further that it cannot be put on competition with the appetite for profits and economic stability.
It is our strong belief that, there could be plans to revive the economy but no plans can be put in place to raise the dead. The government has a duty and an obligation to protect the citizens of this country against any attacks in this case the Covid-19 and such measures taken to do so, must not only be done but must be seen to be done

The Covid-19 has proven to be having a potential to wipe the entire population if the priorities of those that have the mandate to govern are wanting. As a nation we cannot afford to be seen choosing the economy and the desire for profits over human life.
1. THE EXTENDED PARTIAL LOCKDOWN
The Federation accepted the partial lockdown with the hope that it was a first line defence against the spread of the virus; this was despite the obvious fact that some of the industries that were designated as essential service providers were in fact not essential.Even if, one were to accept a varied definition of essential services by giving it a context within the meaning of the current situation, it could not have been true that industries in the manufacturing of
timber products were carrying out any relevant essential work.
What is essential about manufacturing planks and treated poles? This designation was made, despite that these industries are by their production nature, labour intensive. It is general knowledge to
any reasonable person that these industries are dominated by vulnerable and exploited workers who are easily intimidated by the employers whose sole interest is to continue quenching their unending thirst for profits even at the expense of the workers’ lives.
It is very clear to us that the designation of such essential industries was clouded by political influence than the reality of the virus situation. The government is warned against politicizing the virus as such tendency may cause instability in the economy and industrial disharmony. The timber production industry is not essential, it is a high risk  sector and it must be shut down for the sake of the poor and vulnerable workers. A fatality has already been reported in that sector, the passing away of one is too many for us, and may his soul rest in peace.
We note that the statistics of the prevalence of the virus does not support the flexing of the partial lockdown rules, expected practicesand conduct. In fact it calls for tightened measures.
It is a political blunder and an unacceptable behaviour for the government to open up the economic activism as if things are normal. The country is risking being locked out by the neighbouring countries due to its behaviour of taking the Covid-19 for granted.
It is a very unfortunate joke that the government has since permitted the transport sector to operate at 70% capacity, meaning a 70 seater bus can now carry 42 passengers despite that only 20 people are in terms of the rules permitted to gather at any one point and time. It is very impossible that passengers could be compelled to wear masks when the masks are not provided.
If the government is serious about containing the spread of the virus, a total lockdown is necessary in this sector. The working class and the poor are the only clients of the public transport sector and they are the most vulnerable in all aspects as they can’t even afford to buy the masks, they must be protected. We have learnt that some passengers are borrowing used masks to board public transport. This is not working and it must be stopped before the population gets wiped off by the virus.
We have further noted that, some employers specifically in the Textile and Apparel Sector have not paid the workers for all the days of the partial lockdown. The workers were paid only for the number of days which they have actually worked before the lockdown.
The Employers are refusing even to engage the recognized Unions despite the regulations issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. This is illegal and it must be stopped. On the other hand the landlords are demanding rent from these workers some of whom have received a three days wages pay.
It is important to state for the record that workers are ready and available to render services to the employers in terms of their contracts of employment. It is unacceptable therefore for the employers to apply the “No work No Pay” principle. The government is formally advised that the workers intends going back to work in their numbers if their payment situation is not attended to. This could be a very unfortunate situation as it may disrupt the measures being taken to curb the spread of the virus.

The relaxation of the lockdown regulations does not have a human face; it disregards the reality that the Covid-19 is a deadly virus and that any easing of the measures required for its prevention could result into a catastrophic situation. The government should ready itself to take the genocide blame as it has thrown up the lives of the citizens.
We call upon the Government to call off the easing / relaxation of the Covid-19 regulations as it not supported by any finding that there is improvement in the spread of the virus and because it is a bad experience. The government is further called upon to intensify inspections to monitor compliance with the ILO, WHO as well as the Ministries’ own Covid -19 regulations.
We further call upon Employers to engage honestly with the workers to find win – win solutions during these trying times. We shall as a matter of fact engage with employers at a high level if there’s continued disregard of the regulations as workers may be compelled to remove themselves from hazardous working environments.
On our part, we call upon our members to continue observing the preventative measures as communicated by the Ministry of Health and other legitimate health institutions.
Our general membership is further informed that the Federation’s activities and gatherings remain suspended. The suspension of the gatherings includes our annual Workers’ Day celebration.
Issued by the TUCOSWA Secretariat
Mduduzi C. Gina
Acting Secretary General -+26876119211
Muzikayise G. Mhlanga
Deputy Secretary General- +26876023348

NEW YEARS STATEMENT 2020

NEW YEAR STATEMENT BY THE AMALGAMATED TRADE UNION OF SWAZILAND

02 January 2020

“Interdependency is a fundamental law of nature. Every tiny insects survive by mutual cooperation based on their interconnectedness. It is because our own human existence is so dependent on the help of others that our need for love lies at the very foundation of our existence. Therefore we need a genuine sense of responsibility and a sincere concern for the welfare of others.”    – Dalai Lama.
The Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA) hails the dedicated members of the union; workers who despite the immense challenges and hardship on them elected to stand by their union.  2019 was the most challenging year in the young history of our glorious trade union organization. Had it not been the love on one another, genuine sense of responsibility and a sincere concern for the welfare of others, those who wish to see ATUSWA perish would have succeeded. When we say our organization is under attack, we do not just say it to hide our inefficiencies but we say it against the backdrop of constant and persistent attack from all angles.
We have one another. In the face of the leadership of the country which find joy in making empty pronouncements without any desire whatsoever to respect the right of workers and individuals, in the face of government which is hell-bent on protecting even the worst employers; we have one another, in the face of employers who refuse to accept that workers are human beings, whose fundamental rights must be protected by everyone; we have one another and in the face of the hyenas who pretend to be with us, yet they want to see us divided and segmented; we stand together. 2019 will be remembered by ATUSWA as the year where the union, through its struggles has unearthed jewels and rough diamonds within the union. In the book of 1 Corinthians 10:13 God says “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it”. With the hardship and attack against the union, new leaders were born and the future of trade union movement looks bright. Through it all we were able to stand firm because God gave us one another.
In 2019, the union witnessed the dismissal of at least two managers as a result of their failure to respect the rights of workers. Workers stood side by side and said “Enough is enough”. These were dismissed because of our collective efforts through ensuring that companies had no choice but to let go their trusted managers. We are quite aware that these managers were scape goats because they were implementing the mandate from those who would later dismiss them. This should teach other managers that employers would use and dump you once you are no longer useful and in the process blame you.
2019 has been a year wherein ATUSWA spent a lot resources towards legal. This is because some employers have resolved to dry the coffers of the union by taking the union to court even when the employers know chances of success are almost zero. At this point in time an employer who is politically connected has instructed counsel in order to jail the leaders of the union solely because we dared challenge the employer and her sweetheart union in a form of a sham. Even with the threat of going to jail looming, our union shall not stop doing what it ought to do; protect its members in particular and workers in general. Through it all, ATUSWA focused on the silver lining and that is why the union has embarked on developing capacity within the union and we are pleased that we are beginning to win complex matters on our own. We also wish to applaud the lawyers of ATUSWA who continue to capacitate and represent the union.
The historic mission of TUCOSWA, our federation is to unite all workers of our land as the only workers federation. In uniting the workers, TUCOSWA should and shall not shy away from resolving disputes between its affiliates and within affiliates, especially when requested to as pronounced at the 2017 workers’ day celebrations at Pigs Peak. We reject the notion that workers who resign from a union affiliated to TUCOSWA to join another do not threaten TUCOSWA since they remain in the federation. In the contrary this is a recipe for division and segmentation which threated the very principle that founded TUCOSWA; to unite all workers of our land. History has informed us that workers who leave another union to join the other end up joining those that are not organized and we have examples where this can be traced. We wish to welcome the support from TUCOSWA affiliated unions who continue to stand with us during the difficulties facing the union and we have a duty to reciprocate the support and unity.
We wish our federation well as it goes to its 3rd Quadrennial Congress. We hope that the resolutions that will be taken at the Congress will inspire workers to join the trade union movement in their numbers and at the same time bring to the fore renewed activism across sectors. Finally we hope the new leadership that shall emerge will work on building unity and cohesion within the trade union movement. Maya Angelou wrote “We need joy as we need air. We need love as we need water. We need each other as we need the earth we share” and this is how each individual within the trade union movement should view one another; that we are stronger together.
The Textile and Apparel Industry continue to be the most difficult   sector within ATUSWA to organize. Despite the fact that our union is the only union organized in the sector and fully supported by the workers, employers continue to refuse recognition to ATUSWA. The Texray Group of companies, Juris Manufactures, Davinscot, FTM Garments and Ho’s Enterprise to name a few still refuse to recognize the union despite having overwhelming support amongst its employees. As we begin 2020 we are entering negotiation season in the garment industry. We have already submitted demands and we expect the employers to negotiate in good faith.
The leadership of the union has undertaken to push for the conclusion of the review application on the matter between our union and SMAWU. We applaud the workers who were organized under SMAWU before our 2013 amalgamation process for rejecting those who wish to see workers divided. We trust the leadership that emerged at the SMAWU Special General Meeting (SGM) will deliver the workers back in ATUSWA in line with the resolutions of the SGM.
On behalf of the National Office Bearers, our staff and the entire leadership of the union we send our profound revolutionary greetings and wish our members, all workers; organized and unorganized, our legal team, our federation and our International allies a prosperous, peaceful and happy new year, 2020.

Issued by

National Office Bearers

TUCOSWA STATEMENT ON THE BANNING OF LABOUR BROKERS

Introduction
It was in Philadelphia, in 1948 when member States of the International Labour Organization declared that labour was not a commodity. This declaration was in respect and in response to the types of employment contracts that were derived from the ancient Roman Laws and practices. Read more »

STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE MINISTRY OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL SECURITY ON ATUSWA.

 

 

The Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA), a worker loved trade union organization is saddened and dismayed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s attitude towards the union. The conduct displayed by the Ministry and the manner in which the Ministry is hell-bent on bringing ATUSWA where it has no business is unbecoming. This only confirms that the vindictive, venomous and acrimonious attitude which borders on maleficent towards ATUSWA has rubbed off from the Read more »

TUCOSWA STATEMENT ON THE COMMISSIONER OF LABOURS’ APPOINTMENT OF AN INTERIM NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE TO LEAD THE SWAZILAND MANUFACTURING AND ALLIED WORKERS UNION (SMAWU)

Introduction
On the 31st July, 2019, The Ministry of Labour and Social Security issued a statement containing “directives” on the administration and activities of the SMAWU, including the appointment of an Interim National leadership of the Union for a period of Read more »

MONTIGNY INVESTMENT STAND AGAINST THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN RIGHTS.

18 June 2019

Montigny Investment Limited, a company that is owned by the Minister of Finance in the Kingdom of Eswatini stand opposed to the fundamental principles of human rights by tirelessly working on denying its employees the right to Freedom of Association. Montigny was financed and is co-owned Read more »

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