PSI Supports Demand Of Swaziland For Trade Union
Public Services International Delegation Supports Demand Of Swaziland Affiliates For Trade Union And Democratic Rights
A delegation from the global union federation Public Services International (PSI) is in Swaziland this week to lend support to affiliates who are trying to convince the government to back down on plans to adopt a controversial Public Service Bill. In its current form, the bill effectively prohibits public officers from openly belonging to or being associated with any political organisation, which could also include a trade union.
The bill threatens the job security of civil servants by giving heads of departments the power to dismiss workers virtually at will, simply by giving notice of intention to terminate their employment contract.
PSI general secretary Peter Waldorff says, “Public Services International, representing 20 million members worldwide, stands in solidarity with our affiliates the Swaziland National Association of Civil Servants and the Swaziland Nurses Association, and with the workers and the citizens of Swaziland in their struggle for democracy and the full enjoyment of human rights, including trade union rights.
“We believe that the real purpose of this bill is to intimidate anyone who criticises the policies or actions of the king and government of Swaziland. We see this law as an extension of the draconian Suppression of Terrorism Act 2009 and the ban on opposition political parties.
“This bill would violate important international conventions signed by the Kingdom of Swaziland,” Waldorff notes. “We call on the king and government to abide by its obligations as a member of United Nations, including its signed commitments under the International Labour Organisation.”
The delegation will also lend its voice to those campaigning for the restoration of democracy and freedom of expression, the lifting of the ban on opposition political parties, and an end to the 35 year old State of Emergency in Swaziland.
The PSI delegation will meet with government officials to discuss their concerns about the Public Service Bill; make a detailed assessment of the trade union and human rights of public service workers in Swaziland; plan a programme of action for addressing violations of trade union and human rights in Swaziland; and raise awareness among trade unions and the general public about the implications of the controversial sections of the bill.