Striking teachers in Swaziland have vowed to extend their five week strike indefinitely until their demand of a 4.5% pay rise has been met. The government has responded with intimidation and violence.
The Swaziland government gave strikers an ultimatum to back to work or face a 33% pay cut. The deadline has now passed, and the teachers have subsequently had their salaries reduced.
The government have taken steps to have all 30 members of the union executive committee imprisoned for 30 days for organising an illegal strike. The courts ruled that the government had not provided sufficient evidence.
In a recent development, Taxi drivers and nurses have now gone out on strike in support of the teachers. The Swazi government are taking urgent steps via the court in an attempt to get the nurses back to work.
Wherever and whenever strikers have attempted to hold a peaceful march or rally the police have been deployed, and have used water cannons, rubber bullets, and tear gas, to disperse people.
Many Swazi workers blame the country’s ruler, King Mswati III, a man who refuses any kind of democratic reform, and remains one of the world’s richest people whilst his subjects barely have a pot to piss in.
The government has announced that any worker who does not return to work by the 26th July will be sacked. The state has also placed the military and correctional services, on ‘standby’ to assist in persuading strikers to return to work.