As the International Workers’ Day (May Day) was celebrated worldwide on 1 May, the Secretary General of Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), an EI affiliate, was under house arrest. Six policemen guarded his house without any warrant or court order.
The Swazi Labour Minister denied that the Government was against workers celebrating May Day, but it will not allow the day to be celebrated under the banner of the new trade union federation, the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). The Government said that workers can celebrate Workers’ Day as individual unions, but not come together under TUCOSWA.
A number of other leaders in the labour movement were also under house arrest, some others forced to go back to their homes.
Clearly, the Government will go all the way to make sure TUCOSWA does not function, deplored SNAT.
Human and trade union rights denied
“EI condemned the fact that the Swaziland government did not allow workers to freely celebrate May Day,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “We urge public authorities to immediately cease the harassment of trade unionists and respect workers’ human and trade union rights, in education as in all other sectors.”