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February 21, 2018updated 12 Apr 2021 2:21pm

Swazi union calls for workers’ rights to be respected

IndustriAll global union affiliate, the Amalgamed Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA), is calling on the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority and the Department of Labour to continuously engage employers on the importance of respecting workers' rights.

By Beth Wright

IndustriAll global union affiliate, the Amalgamed Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA), is calling on the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority and the Department of Labour to continuously engage employers on the importance of respecting workers’ rights.

The Swazi union condemns management at Tex Ray companies in the country for “thwarting workers’ rights”, including the right to freedom of association and to collective bargaining. The group says they are pushing for a so-called “sham union” and, despite claims that ATUSWA organises more than 80% of workers at Tex Ray companies, including Union Industrial Washing, Kasumi Apparels, TQM textiles and Katat, refuses to recognise ATUSWA.

According to the group, the management-led union is denouncing ATUSWA and using bribes to attract workers in a bid to obtain the necessary recognition at the Commission for Mediation Arbitration and Conciliation (CMAC) ahead of the finalisation of ATUSWA’s recognition.

If buyers continue to source garments from the Tex Ray group of companies without ensuring that the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining is respected, they are effectively collaborating with Tex Ray in undermining our rights as workers, says ATUSWA.

“We call on the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority and the department of labour to continuously engage employers on the importance of respecting workers’ rights. Tex Ray should not be allowed to take our country back to the past that we wish to escape from,” says ATUSWA secretary general Wander Mkhonza.

Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriAll regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa, adds: “We stand by ATUSWA in their fight for recognition and reiterate workers’ right to form their own trade union. Employers should not try to weaken an established trade union by sponsoring a sham union. We call upon CMAC to urgently conclude on ATUSWA’s recognition.”

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