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Teachers go ahead with march as court order comes minutes late

image TEE OFF: Ministry of Public Service Principal Secretary Evart Madlopha receiving the petition from SNAT Deputy Secretary Sikelela Dlamini

AN order by Judge Nkosinathi Nkonyane calling off the march by teachers was a minute too late.

AN order by Judge Nkosinathi Nkonyane calling off the march by teachers was a minute too late.
By the time the judgement was made, teachers were already at the public service ministry to deliver their petition.
Government had run to court seeking an order barring the teachers from their protest march.
While government was in court, teachers embarked on their intended march which started at the Coronation Park all the way up to the ministry of public service gate.
The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) resolved to embark on a protest march following government’s stance of abandoning the Joint Negotiations Forum (JNF) rendering same dysfunctional, breaching of the July 2013 collective agreement particularly on the grading of heads of departments of schools as well as hindering the completion of the salary review process on appeals and allowances.
The teachers said they had made many attempts to get government to convene a meeting where they could negotiate the salary reviews hence the resolution to march to petition that they reconvene the JNF and continue the salary review appeals process.
The teachers through their President Freedom Dlamini promised that if government does not heed to their demands they would march again until government gives in to their simple demand that they convene a meeting for all stakeholders and interested parties for the salary review which should have been implemented in April.
“We have many issues that we are supposed to engage on but right now at this particular moment what we are asking for is a cost of living adjustment,” he said.
He said teachers were hungry hence they had come out in their numbers to make a statement.
“Teachers are out to make a statement, they want the review to happen, they are hungry,” he said.
He further said if government does not give them the negotiations table as soon as possible they would come back, to get their dues because they worked hard and deserved the review.
The teachers petitioned government to reconvene the JNF and the appeals process by Monday next week and because they had missed out on many meetings that should have been convened in the past months, the negotiations must take place all week next week until an agreement is reached.
The petition was read by the association’s Deputy Secretary General Sikelela Dlamini before handing it over to Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service Evart Madlopha.
Receiving the petition, Madlopha said government was concerned about the well-being of her employees hence it would do whatever it took to make sure that their grievances are addressed.
“I have received your lengthy petition and I will take it to the rightful people, they will look into it and we will then communicate with your executive,” he said.
After delivering the petition at the public service offices, the energetic teachers then marched to the prime minister’s offices to deliver the same petion, however upon arrival they were told that since they had delivered it at the ministry of public service there was no need to deliver another one there.
Addressing the teachers again, the president of the association said they just wanted the head of government to know that they were unhappy and to implore him to direct the rightful people to reconvene the negotiations.
Dlamini reminded the premier in absentia that while he was building himself a E5 million house and passing circulars that would enable him a jammy life when his term in office elapses, teachers who played a pivotal role in the nation were being underpaid.
Dlamini then asked former president, Sibongile Mazibuko to pray before they could march back. Mazibuko before praying applauded the teachers for coming in their numbers and promised them that she would always support them. 
“Do not lose hope; keep fighting until these people acknowledge that you are important and the money is yours because you have worked for it,” she said.


Teachers hire 22 buses for march

Teachers came in their numbers to make a statement yesterday that they have had enough of government not reviewing their salaries.
The teachers from all four regions in the country came in over 22 buses with some using their personal cars to show their dissatisfaction with government’s failure to convene negotiations for salary reviews which should have been implemented in April.
According to Deputy Secretary General of Swaziland National Teachers Association (SNAT) Sikelela Dlamini, the teachers had indicated after their meeting this past Sunday that they all wanted to be a part of the march but they had not anticipated so many of them.
Executive members of the association speaking amongst themselves said the numbers were overwhelming, nothing like they had expected but they were impressed. “Bakwatile,” they would from time to time joke.
A national executive member said they had initially hired 15 buses but by 10 am yesterday they had been told that the number of buses had increased by seven.
“This is overwhelming,” he said.
The highest number recorded of teachers in a strike action is 3 000 but yesterday they were approximately above 1 500.

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