Concerning proposed strike action called by the Public Sector Associations of Swaziland (PSAS), The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), The Swaziland National Association of Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP), the Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA), and the National Public Services and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU) on the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for the years 2017/2018 and 2018/2019.



Yesterday 25th January we shared with the Nation developments concerning the proposed unlawful strike action.

In the update I am refering to, we informed the Nation about the efforts of His Majesties Government to avert this potential socio economic disaster that can reverse the gains this Kingdom has made over the decades since independence in 1968.

The gains have been the product of the sweat of the entire nation to build and sustain the economy through Foreign Direct Investment and domestic sacrifice. Developments in this country have been underpinned by the Nations belief in the peaceful settlement of differences of opinion – in short - negotiations.

On 25Th January the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini through its lawful negotiating structure the GNT carried a new mandate to continue with efforts to reach an amicable settlement with the Public Sector unions. The mandate as noted yesterday brought to the table concrete proposals which I want to recall for the benefit of those who may have missed them in the last update.

  • First we tabled timeframes suggesting that the COLA issue will be resolved during the 2020/2021 financial year.
  • Second we suggested a COLA increase of not less than 3% and possibly higher depending on the state of the economy at that stage.
  • Third we proposed a joint quarterly review of the state of the economy with the public sector unions.

I wish to emphasize that the unions categorically rejected these proposals from Government prompting a feeling of skepticism about the motive of the strike as we are aware that the membership had not been consulted. It is in this regard that we are coming back today to share our thoughts and advise the entire Nation including the business community.

We are aware of the challenges of the past and going forward we want to focus on the solutions for the future. In doing so we the new Government (in office less than three months) has committed to an Economic Recovery Strategy and Plan of Action to improve the quality of life for all Emaswati.

As a new Government we will not be intimidated by the militant response from elements within union leadership. This is not a war and we are not an enemy. We are colleagues doing everything in our power to preserve your jobs.

  • Nobody has the right to threaten and intimidate employees into joining an unlawful strike.
  • It is futile to demand salary increases that they know are unattainable because Government wages are already unsustainable.


Unlawful Strike Action

Any employee contemplating taking part in unlawful strike action should give careful consideration to the following:

The strike action called by PSAS, SNAT, SNAGAP, the SNA and NAPSAWU calling on all employees including essential services to strike for 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 COLA is unlawful.


  • Employment is not protected and employees who take part in unlawful strike action will face disciplinary proceedings and be liable on conviction to be dismissed.
  • The principle of no work no pay shall apply to any employee engaged in strike action, including employees who do not report for work, employees who report to work and fail to attend to their duties, and employees who report to work and restrict the output of their work in any way.
  • No employee is obliged to participate in any strike action and every employee has the right to work.
  • No Union or employee is entitled to prevent any employee from going to work or to use intimidation, threats or violence to prevent an employee from going to work, or to suffer any harmful consequences for going to work. Any persons threatening violence or ill-treatment towards fellow employees will face disciplinary proceedings and be liable on conviction to be dismissed. This will apply in particular to the threats issued by SNAT secretary general in the circular dated 26th January.
  • Any loss attributable to unlawful strike action shall be subject to an order for just and equitable compensation in terms of section 88 (i)(b) of the Industrial Relations Act.
  • Unions and employees who engage in unlawful strike action commit offences in terms of section 88(5) of the Industrial Relations Act and will be liable on conviction to pay fines up to E10 000 in terms of Section 110 of the Industrial Relations Act.


Safety and Service Delivery


Schools, hospitals and clinics and all Government services will be open as usual on 28th January.


  • Any parent, student or other person experiencing any disruption at school should notify the authorities..
  • Any patient experiencing any disruption at a clinic or hospital should notify the authorities.
  • Any person experiencing any disruption in any other service from a Government employee should notify the authorities.
  • Any person experiencing any threats, intimidation, violence or action preventing that person from going to work should notify the authorities.
  • Disruption of services will be kept to a minimum.



It is not possible to pay cost of living adjustment (COLA) increases for Government employees for 2017/2018 and for 2018/2019 because Government salaries are already at unsustainable levels.

The Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini will continue to make every effort to retain employment for Government employees committed to serving the Nation and contributing to our economic growth.

Strike action at the expense of the education of our children and the health and safety of our people will cause only hardship for employees and the people they are employed to serve.

Every employee has the right to work without fear of threats or intimidation and that right will be protected.

 The Right Honourable Prime Minister and Cabinet               26th January 2019


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