11 December 2018

The Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA) is not going to pretend that it does not have an interest in the affairs of SMAWU, a union that Amalgamated with others to form ATUSWA. The fact that the Industrial Court of Appeal confirmed that there was an amalgamation, but only find fault on the manner in which the amalgamation happened confirms that workers took a decision to unite under the banner of our glorious organization and that is where our interest lies. It must be emphasized that the individuals who took ATUSWA to court were and are not members of SMAWU but a group of hyenas that want to feast of the carcass of SMAWU and ultimately workers.

There is no court decision to the effect that SMAWU cannot invite other organizations in particular ATUSWA to its activities. Actually, the mere fact that even the Industrial Court of Appeal, in its flawed judgement envisaged that there was an amalgamation confirms the legitimacy of ATUSWA as a workers led and supported trade union organization, whether the argument that amalgamation itself was then carried out in a proper manner or not would ultimately prevail and it is another issue on its own but we cannot pretend as if workers were not aware of what they were doing when they decided to merge, because God knows they were fully aware and from the look of things they would stop at nothing until the dream of unity is realized.

Ever since the Industrial Court of Appeal judgement was delivered we have been receiving persistent requests from “SMAWU members” who are of the view that they should resign from SMAWU and join ATUSWA, our advice has been; since we have instructed our lawyers to lodge an application for review of the Industrial Court of Appeal’s judgement, lets await its determination, so that the overwhelming majority decision of SMAWU members taken in 2013 is respected and restored. The danger on resigning is that we would be unwittingly accepting that there are people who are considered owners of an organization whereas the true position is that owners of unions are the members themselves not a group of clueless individuals who are supported by crooked employers and corrupt government officials who want to maintain weak and segmented trade union movement.  We are also appreciative of the fact that a lot of employers currently recognizing SMAWU do not respect Freedom of Association and would use every trick in the book to frustrate granting ATUSWA recognition even with 100% signed membership.

We are more than pleased that the workers has taken back their union from the surrogates of division who work in darkness that have made themselves pawns in disuniting workers. We are quite aware that most of these do not have a clue that they are manipulated; that the people who are manipulating them lack the capacity to win this battle but they continue to use them anyway for as long as ATUSWA is derailed from delivering to its mandates. We are thrilled that SMAWU is now in the hands of the workers and whatever decisions the workers take, would be supported by ATUSWA because it would be a decision from the owners of the union.

Our advice to those that wish to lead workers is simple; have a heart to win hearts. Workers know if an organization and or a leader or leadership have their (workers) interest at heart and they know when they are misled and or led by people who do not have capacity to lead them. It is on that basis that workers have been consistently saying, if ATUSWA were to fail them they would not join another trade union ever and that is what we remind ourselves each and every time.

We applaud SMAWU members for the progressive decisions they took over the weekend and for protecting their organization. ATUSWA stand ready to assist the new leadership of the union and to fulfill the wishes of the members who took the decision that SMAWU must work with ATUSWA at all levels.

We call upon all employers and the Department of Labour which has been consistently misleading employers to accept the will of the workers. It is true that they may have wished for a different outcome but everyone must realize that those who would have wished for a different outcome might have banked on wrong people who do not appeal to the membership of SMAWU. Workers have identified their leaders and everyone must accept.

Prepared by

Wonder Mkhonza

Secretary General

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