Letter to Swazi Prime Minister from Kommunal – Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union


Sibusiso Dlamini
Office of the Prime Minister
Hospital Hill

Prime Minister,

On behalf of 515 000 members of Kommunal, the Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union, I am writing to express our concern for trade unions rights and to strongly condemn the systematic interference by police in lawful and legitimate trade union activities.

We have learnt that when the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) planned a mass meeting last week to discuss trade union matters and democratic rights, police intimidated the landlord of the venue indicating that he could not rent out the hall to TUCOSWA without the permission of the police and without stating which laws he would have violated by renting the space to TUCOSWA. When TUCOSWA changed the venue and date for the meeting, the police mounted roadblocks around the country and placed police in front of the National Teachers Association (SNAT) Centre where the meeting was supposed to be held. The police insisted that the meeting could not take place.

I want to draw your attention to that the right to organise trade union activities and meetings is recognised under Swazi and international law. Section 14(b) of the Constitution (2005) guarantees the right to freedom of assembly and section 99 bis of the Industrial Relations Act stipulates that trade unions have the right to plan and organise lawful activities. Article 3 of ILO Convention 87 on Freedom of Association states that trade unions have the right to organise their administration and activities and to formulate their programmes and that public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right.

We urge you to conduct an investigation and hold the responsible police officers accountable without delay. Police tactics to intimidate workers from holding a legitimate trade union meeting constitute a serious violation of both Swazi and international law.

Despite repeated calls from the ILO and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), your government continues to systematically deny the right of Swazi workers to join trade unions and carry out lawful and legitimate activities.

We are deeply disappointed about the lack of progress and have serious concerns over the systemic nature of violations of fundamental rights in Swaziland. I call on your Government to take immediate steps to comply with Swazi and international law regarding trade union rights.

Yours faithfully,
Kommunal – Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union

Annelie Nordström

CC: Mr Henry V. Zeeman, Chargé d’affaires, +44 20 7630 6564, enquiries@swaziland.org.uk
Kommunal, the biggest trade union in Sweden with over 515 000 members, is an affiliate of PSI, Public Services International.

Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union – Kommunal
Svenska Kommunalarbetareförbundet
Box 19039, Hagagatan 2, SE – 104 32 Stockholm, Sweden
Tel +46 10 442 7000, Fax +46 8 318 745
www.kommunal.se forbundet@kommunal.se