COSATU and Africa Contact campaign demands unbanning of TUCOSWA
July 4, 2013 1 Comment
“With this campaign, we wish to send a clear message to Swaziland’s government in general, and its Minister of Labour in particular, that the Swazi trade unions have the support of people throughout the world, who will not stand idly by and let the rights of workers in Swaziland be trampled underfoot,” says Africa Contact’s Chairperson, Mads Barbesgaard.
“Together with the ILO we demand that TUCOSWA is unbanned. TUCOSWA’s struggle is essential and epoch-making in ensuring that leaders in other countries are not inspired by Swaziland to undermine their countries’ labour rights.”
After years of negotiations, Swaziland’s trade unions federations had decided to merge into one organisation, the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). But the Swazi government, after initially registering TUCOSWA, chose to deregister the federation in violation of the rules of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that Swaziland has ratified.
During its International Labour Conference in June, the ILO demanded that “the [Swazi] government should immediately proceed to the registration of TUCOSWA.” Until Swaziland’s government chooses to do so – something that won’t happen without pressure from within and outside Swaziland – the trade union movement in Swaziland, and thus Swazi workers, are left without a voice.
And Swaziland’s population need the voice of a trade union congress to demand their rights in a country where all that question the rule of absolute monarch King Mswati III are met with threats, violence, torture and imprisonment. In a country that is nominally a middle-income country but where two thirds of the population survive on less than a dollar a day, many without having a meal every day. And in a country where the government routinely and often violently breaks up any demonstration, protest or union event.