26 April 2018

The Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA) welcomes the Court Decision handed down today, the 26th of April 2018, on the matter between ATUSWA and those who were calling themselves SMAWU, a union that amalgamated with various unions to form ATUSWA. The Industrial Court of Swaziland confirmed the FACT that ATUSWA is a union formed through an amalgamation process which was started by the Swaziland Processing, Refining and Allied Workers Union (SPRAWU) and the Swaziland Manufacturing and Allied workers Union (SMAWU), giants that live in the belly of ATUSWA as a result of the amalgamation.

In a landmark judgement the Industrial Court found that “Section 41 also provides very clearly that the newly formed entity is a trade union. Section 41 (c) provides that “In the event of amalgamation, the newly constituted organization shall assume all the rights and duties of its predecessor organization….”. As pointed out in the judgement, in terms of Section 2, the interpretation Section, ‘organization’ means a trade union. There was nothing wrong or unlawful by the Commissioner of Labour when he registered the newly formed organization as a trade union. The position of the law is very clear and unambiguous that trade unions may amalgamate and form a trade union. The finding of the Court was in contrast to the views of the surrogates of division and backwardness who were buoyed by satanic forces within government, capital and some divisive elements within labour who are happy to see weak and segmented labour. All those who openly or secretly supported this attempt to divide our union should be ashamed of themselves.

In seamless findings the Court also find that; “In the light of the evidence before the Court, the proper application of the law is that all trade unions that amalgamated ceased to exist and are defunct. Their membership, rights and duties were assumed by the newly formed trade union, ATUSWA.

We are conscious that those who challenged the unions were nothing but representatives of people who sit in dark corners who are happy to see the trade union movement divided. We are also not happy with the manner in which those whom we had expected to support us were almost ready to give us to the wolves; to them we say time will tell.

We wish to acknowledgement the support within trade union movement including TUCOSWA our federation who provided support when the union was incapacitated to represent its members as a result of the court challenge which has since been dismissed with heavy costs.

We are indebted to our global union IndustriALL who stood by our organization when it was not fashionable to do so. We were able to keep the fires burning because of the support we received from IndustriALL. Their support has left a big mark and made us realize that solidarity knows no boundaries.

To the employers who took advantage of the situation in order to frustrate the right to Freedom of Association and Collective bargaining we say shame to them. Workers of this land made an informed decision to form this giant and in fulfilling their choice they made a decision to stand behind their union and their leadership and they will go down in history as a people who stood for their right when odds were stacked against them


Issued by;

Wander Mkhonza

Secretary General

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