Swaziland: Sugar Strikers Win Pay Increase

Striking workers at Swaziland's Ubombo Sugar Company have won a 10 percent pay increase, despite suffering intimidation by the Swazi Army and state security forces.

The workers had been on strike for more than three weeks at the sugar company which is 40 percent owned by King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland.

The management of the company, which is also known as Illovo, had successfully obtained a court order to restrict the workers pickets away from the main sugar plantation estate, near Big Bend.

Earlier, state police the Operational Support Services Unit (OSSU) had used teargas and water canon to disperse protesting workers.

Media in Swaziland reported that soldiers, warders and police were deployed throughout the small town to stop workers from disrupting the sugar plant.

The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, estimated the strike had cost Ubombo E2.4 million (US$240,000) since it began on 13 June 2014. The management had originally offered a 7.5 percent pay increase.

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