Swaziland Unions to Hold Monthly Protest for Democracy, Reject Wage Cuts

Swaziland’s labor unions will hold protests each month to push for a democratic political system, said Quinton Dlamini, president of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union.

The unions rejected a government plan to cut state wages as part of measures to deal with a fiscal crisis, Dlamini said today by phone from Mbabane, the capital. The decisions follow a meeting of main labor unions to discuss the government’s reaction to a three-day protest.

The Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, Swaziland National Association of Teachers and Swaziland Federation of Labour agreed to join to form the Trade Union Confederation of Swaziland, he said.

Police detained union leaders and journalists and used teargas, rubber bullets and water cannons last week to break up marches in support of democracy in Swaziland, Africa’s third- largest sugar producer.

The government plans to raise taxes, cut budget spending and reduce civil servants salaries to ease a budget crisis. The country, wedged between South Africa and Mozambique, is sub- Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarchy, ruled by King Mswati III.

The youth wing of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress called in an e-mailed statement today for a boycott of Swaziland goods and for South African companies to stop doing business with the country to help isolate Mswati.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vuyisile Hlathswayo in Mbabane at vshlatshwayo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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