Mbabane: The government of Eswatini has once again failed to reach an agreement with Public Sector Associations (PSA) regarding the Cost of Living Adjustment (CoLa).
In a meeting held on Wednesday at the Ministry of Public Service, government once again disappointed civil servants when it tabled a lousy 3 percent, which is about half of what the workers want, which is 6.7 percent.
In statement issued by the Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini on January 25,2019, government clearly stated that it cannot settle for paying CoLA for the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 financial periods respectively but rather to resolve the CoLA issue during the 2020/2021 financial year. The government earlier said the increase shall not be less than 3 percent and possibly be higher depending on the financial state at that time.
Independent News has established that the PSAs rejected the tabled offer by government.
PSAs were formed by the Swaziland Nurses Association (SNA), Swaziland Association of Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP), National Public and Allied Workers Unions (NASPAWU) and Swaziland National Association of Teachers(SNAT).
The CoLA negotiations are taking place at a time when government is engulfed by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that has been plaguing the globe, hence the financial state of the country is not looking good at all. The Lilangeni currency has seen a drastic fall since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) on a statement issued by the association’s Secretary General Sikelela Dlamini said the meeting could not proceed fruitfully as the two parties (Government NegotiationTeam and the Joint Negotiations Forum) did not come to an agreement.
Dlamini through the statement that was directed to members said the JNF was very disappointed as the GNT failed to honor its promises of tabling scenarios through which proposes that the 2020 CoLA be awarded to Civil Servants.
Dlamini revealed that government is saying she can only afford to offer 3 percent which can only be backdated to April 1,2020.
For the past years, the government have been failing to award CoLa which resulted in numerous strikes in the kingdom.
The meeting was subsequently adjourned as the GNT asked to go back to Cabinet to renegotiate as far as CoLa is concerned.
Another meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20, 2020, where a deadlock will be signed if government fails to come up with an improved offer as PSAs are standing firm and do not want to accept anything less than 6 percent.