13th September 2018

The Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA), the only workers union recognized and organizing the Textile and Apparel sector is geared up for an Industry strike action once all processes have been complied with. The Industrial action is as a result of the employers’ body refusing after protracted requests to open the negotiations table by ATUSWA.

When the union decided to approach individual employers about the workers’ demands, the union was met with hostility as the employers took a unified position that they would not pay above the Wages Order of the Textile and Apparel Industry. Each employer would say his / her company does not want to be the first one to break ranks with the other employers in the industry. This position took us aback since the same employers refused to accept formation of a Joint Negotiations Council despite that they were well aware that it have an overwhelming support amongst the workers.

The workers has since upped the tempo of their demand and this was evident when Zheng Yong committed the biggest mistake by locking workers out of their work place. Infuriated by the arrogance displayed by Zheng Yong, hell literally broke loose. In an effort to dissuade the workers from demanding a fair wage, the employers opted to go behind the union to offer a 7% wage increase to workers, an act that will prove costly to the employers. As a result of the employers’ cunning which entails offering the 7% that is supposed to be effected beginning April 2019, the employers decided to effect the increase this year. This infuriated the workers even more because they see the deceit by the employers. The workers have consistently reject the 7% and label same as an insult. Indeed the 7% being offered by the employers is and should be viewed as an insult and a ploy to remove the attention of the workers from their demand of E15position per hour.

Since the employers have taken a unified against the demand of the workers it is justified that the workers are also taking a unified position on their demand and workers demand remains E15 per hour. It is also justified for workers to decide that when the industrial action commences, it shall have the support of every individual worker within the industry. There is absolutely no way that the battle would be left in the hands of few when the employers are not even hiding it that they are unified against the workers. If and when the Industrial action commences we would have reached a point of no return as workers. The leadership of the union has the mandate to negotiate now but when the strike kick in, workers shall be in total control of their fate.

We are confident that when the strike commences all workers within the Industry will go to strike and that they will only return to work once their demand have been met. As workers we have never been this close to getting what we deserve and we should not allow this great opportunity to sleep our hands; let us all put our hands on the deck and fight for what’s rightfully belongs to us until victory is achieved.

Unity is power!! Amandla!!
Prepared and Issued by

Wander Mkhonza
Secretary General

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