Swazi Minister of Labour and Social Security, Winnie Magagula, has announced a Cabinet resolution deciding that, pending legal reforms, all federations should stop operating immediately. All trade union and employer federations will be effectively banned, a clear violation of ILO Convention 87, ratified by Swaziland, guaranteeing freedom of association for workers and employers. Federations were called upon to submit reports of their operations to date, including their prepared audited financial statements to the Commissioner of Labour.
Tripartite bodies such as the Wages Council, Labour Advisory Board, Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration Commission, Swaziland National Provident Fund, Training and Localization Committee and the Social Dialogue Committee will stop functioning as a result.
Article 5 of ILO Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize recognizes the right of workers’ organizations to establish or to join federations and confederations of their own choosing.
The Swazi government has ignored repeated calls from the international trade union movement to respect rights guaranteed under international conventions ratified by Swaziland. Instead they have suspended workers’ right to freely associate and to carry out trade union activities completely.