Public sector trade unions in Swaziland, including EI affiliate Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), have reacted negatively to the announcement of a 30 per cent pay rise for junior police officers, because a pay freeze has been applied to teachers!
Pay rise restricted to a portion of public servants
The Swazi Police Commissioner Isaac Magagula announced the pay rise on 27 February. It will apply to officers of the ranks of constable and sergeant. He did not say when the pay rise would take effect, but local media reported that he promised it would be “soon”.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised the Swaziland Government to cut its total wage bill, not to increase it.
Unions had previously been told that they will have a freeze on their pay. When they held protest actions in 2012 asking for a 4.5 per cent pay rise, the Government alleged it could not afford to pay more.
Educator union’s demands for increased salaries ignored
“There is no obvious reason why police officers should get increased pay, while other public servants do not,” said SNAT President Sibongile Mazibuko. “When we went on strike last year, we were stopped by a royal order, and did not receive anything.”
The Government cannot leave out other civil servants, as this will definitely create civil unrest, she warned. Mazibuko also said that the Government must share funding among civil servants to create unity.
The National Public Service and Allied Workers Union’s President Quinton Dlamini stressed that it would be unfair for the Government to provide a 30% increase in salaries to some public servants, when others had been staging protests for a 4.5 per cent pay rise, without any positive outcome.
“Unless the increases are standardised across the public service, we will definitely not allow that to happen,” Dlamini said. “If it means fighting against it, we will do that.”
EI: Government duty to guarantee quality public services
“EI supports our Swazi colleagues and urges national authorities to engage in fruitful social dialogue with teacher unions to discuss pay rises for educators,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “We warn the Swaziland Government against the temptation to pit civil servants against each other.”