Swaziland Public Servants Talk of Working Three-Day Week As Wages Dispute Drags On

Public servants in Swaziland / eSwatini are threatening to work only three days a week in the latest move in a two-year-old pay dispute.

They want a 14.4 percent cost of living increase but the government of absolute monarch King Mswati III has said it cannot afford to pay anything.

Public service unions marched on government on Wednesday (26 June 2019) to deliver a petition.

After the march the Times of Swaziland reported union negotiators said if the government did not meet their pay claim by July, public servants would only work three days a week in future.

It reported, 'Their argument was that as it was, they were working five days per week but received a salary equivalent to three days, based on the erosion by inflation rate in the past two financial years.'

Negotiations are due to continue between unions and government next Wednesday.

Four public service unions have joined forces in the negotiation; they are the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) and the Swaziland Government Accountants Personnel (SNAGAP).

Ahead of the march, SNAT said the government claimed it had no money but continued to spend on 'national celebrations that do not feed into the developmental agenda for the country'. These included the King's Birthday. It said, 'Millions of Emalangeni were spent in these vanity activities and yet the middle class and the poor continued to live in abject poverty. With 70 percent of the population living in rural areas and 63 percent of the population living below the bread-line, it spells doom for Swaziland.'

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