News / Africa

Swaziland Negotiates With Workers over Demands

King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit in Johannesburg, June 11, 2011.
King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit in Johannesburg, June 11, 2011.
Peter Clottey
Swaziland’s government is negotiating with public sector workers over wage increase demands in an effort to improve their living conditions, according to a government spokesman.

Spokesman Percy Simelane also denied the government spent over $3 million for the celebration of King Mswati III’s 45th birthday last Friday. “The king’s birthday was privately sponsored this year, as [was] the case was last year,” Simelane said.

His comments came after public sector workers demanded improved living conditions, saying extravagant nationwide celebrations for the king’s birthday were an indication that the economy had improved.

Three years ago, the government announced there would be no salary increases for public sector workers for the next three years.

The administration says the country has yet to recover from the global economic downturn, which officials say makes it difficult to meet workers’ demands.

Simelane denied accusations that the government is not interested in the well-being of public sector workers because it refuses to increase salaries.

He said the government had refused to consider a suggestion from the International Monetary Fund, which encouraged it to reduce costs by laying off about 7,000 of the 37,000 public sector workers.

“We did not think it was feasible to send 7,000 civil servants home, because there are policies in this country that if children who are supposed to go to school have either parents who are not working, or parents who have died, [the] government has to pay for their education until they finish,” said Simelane.

“We thought it was not wise and that the best thing was to stop the salary increment for at least three years and see what happens after that,” Simelane said. “It wasn’t like the government didn’t want to increase salaries. It was strategic. We want them to be working and we want their dependents not to suffer.”

Nduduzi Gina, first deputy secretary-general of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) called on the government to agree to workers’ demands for better conditions.

“We are hopeful we would be awarded the percentage that we would table in the joint negotiation forum with the government, because we have seen then that, yes, it would appear the economy of the country has improved,” said Gina.

Simelane says the economy is showing signs of improvement.

But, critics say the country’s economic polices failed to jumpstart the economy as officials had promised following the global economic downturn. Simelane disagreed.

“It’s a question of knowing mathematics,” said Simelane. “Three years ago the government was not able to pay civil servants in time because of the financial challenges we were facing. We decided to cut down on many other things that required money so that we would be able to buy ourselves out of the situation. It helped because for now there hasn’t been a situation whereby we delayed salaries of civil servants.”
Clottey interview with Percy Simelane, Swaziland government spokesman
Clottey interview with Percy Simelane, Swaziland government spokesmani
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid