26 September 2018

The Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA) together with the employers under the Textile and Apparel industry who employ over 13000 workers combined, have taken a giant step towards the formation of a Joint Negotiations Council after concluding a joint collective agreement, on the 25th of September 2018.

The collective agreement entails that the workers as represented by our glorious organization would get an eight (8) percent increase backdated to the 1st of September 2018 and a further three (3) percent increase, effective on the 1st of March 2019. It must be noted that the workers within the industry received an eight (8) percent increase from the Wages Council effected on the 1st of March 2018. These increases translate to 19 percent increase in 12 months.

We are the first to admit, and the employers we believe, recognize that there is still a long way to go in ensuring that workers in the Textile and Apparel Industry get wages that would be considered fair and equitable. It is on that basis that the union would NEVER abandon its demand of E15 per hour minimum rate within the sector and it is on that foundation that we believe the Wages Council is not the correct vehicle to move the industry including the workers forward.

In as much as we are not totally happy about the wages within the industry, we must recognize the improvements that have been made especially this year. This improvement must be dedicated to the members of the union who fought side by side and were willing to go to lengths to enhance their chances of a better life. It is not yet uhuru but we are adamant that the unity personified by the workers under the banner of ATUSWA will propel the drive to the realization of the E15 per hour demand.

We appreciate the spirit that was displayed by the combined employers at the negotiations table. It goes to show that employers and workers can find common ground when there is willingness from both parties to resolve disputes. We appeal to those employers who continue to frustrate the right to organize, to recognize the union forthwith, especially those who have resorted to ATUSWA to the High Court in an attempt to overturn the Arbitration Awards on recognition as granted by CMAC. We must also welcome the sound mediation efforts by Mr. Thabiso Dlamini form the Labour department who managed the process in a calm and matured manner.

To all workers; members and non-members, we say unity can achieve a lot. Everyone agree that had we not been united, we would not have achieved the increases we just signed off. Actually some employers were adamant that they have no obligation to discuss wage increases with the union but the might of the workers overwhelmed them. This improvement must encourage even those that doubted the collective ability of ATUSWA to secure such a significant advancement to come closer to the union in order to build a massive power base for the enhancement of terms and conditions of employment.

We call upon all employers to embrace the Joint Negotiations Council idea as proposed by ATUSWA. To us this is the only workable way forward but if the employers continue to insist on the Wages Council, they should brace themselves for double increases each and every year; one by the Wages Council and the other by collective bargaining agreement/s entered into by the union and the employer/s or through the collective bargaining forum.

We further call upon all employers who have initiated disciplinary processes against workers who are alleged to have transgressed during the build up to the collective agreement to consider dropping those charges. The positive energy out of the collective bargaining forum should not be dampened by vicious attack on workers. The union is willing to speak to those whom are believed to have committed acts of misconduct during the tensions.


Issued by


Wonder Mkhonza

Secretary General


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