The Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland’s members employed within the Textile and Apparel Industry in the country are encouraged by the victory of their Lesotho counterparts who have registered a decisive victory in their fight for better terms and conditions of employment. The Basotho workers who had been earning less than their Swazi colleagues has since jumped from a wage of M1’456 a month to M2’000 a month which translate to 27, 2% for a qualified and/or experienced Sewing machine operator. The Lesotho new minimum has been backdated to the 01st of April 2018.


This victory did not come easy for the workers. The African Cotton, Textiles & Apparel Monitor volume 24 / 2018 – 28 August 2018 reported that;

On the 23 August 2018 the Lesotho government, after five months of indecision, decided to implement adjustments to workers’ minimum wages after a bruising battle involving government, a coalition of trade unions, and the Lesotho Textile Exporters’ Association (LTEA). In August alone more than 9 days of work was lost through wildcat strike action – and in some instances by the country’s police ordering that factories remain shut”.


We congratulate our comrades and friends in Lesotho for standing up for what they want. We continue to learn from them and other workers across the continents, that things remain the same until militant action is taken. This is proof that where there is a will there is a way. In the same we applaud the Basotho government for putting their citizens first. We got reports from our colleagues in Lesotho that amongst the decisions taken by government to minimize the impact of the increased wages on the employers was to amongst others, cut the utility costs, including water and energy. Surely with Rand continuing to lose value against the US Dollar the Lesotho companies will learn to live with the new imposed minimum wages.


The Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland is buoyed by the victory of the Basotho workers and in earnest will continue to push for the demand of establishment of the Joint Negotiations Council in textile industry in order to realize the workers demand of E15.00 / hour for Sewing Machinists. The ATUSWA demand is not an unreasonable demand as government and employers would like to believe. With the VAT and accommodation increase in particular the demand is justified. As workers we continue to rent one room flats which are not regulated by government. These landlords continue to milk us dry, no matter the quality of the room.


As we build workers power we warn our members to guard against sweetheart unions which are established by the employers for purposes of dividing workers and isolating ATUSWA. Basotho workers became victorious because they were united in their demand for a better wage and it is ONLY unity under the banner of ATUSWA that can guarantee us better wages as workers of our land.



Prepared by



Wander Mkhonza

Secretary General


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