PSI Condemns Police Violence against Public Sector Trade Unions in Eswatini

PSI stands in solidarity with public sector unions in Eswatini who embarked on a march on 20 October to deliver a petition to the ministry of public service.

Their demands are:

  1. Salary review for 2021

  2. End casualisation of the public service

  3. Stop privatisation of the public service

  4. Stop trade union bashing


Police violence against public sector trade unions in Eswatini 20 October 2021 - video1

We are aware that the National Commissioner of Police banned the march under the Prohibition Order Act on the grounds that “the obtaining security instability caused by the public transport industry boycott makes the situation volatile”. In a separate notice, the reasons listed were “national security, public order and safety”.


Police violence against public sector trade unions in Eswatini 20 October 2021 - video 2

We are aware that the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at workers, causing workers to disperse. PSI strongly condemns the prohibition and the resulting suppression of rights of trade unions to mobilise and organise. This is utterly outrageous and industrial action by public service workers who are health professionals, administrators, teachers, local government workers, should never be misconstrued as a threat. This is a slap in the face to workers for who the country relies on daily to keep state institutions functioning.

In fact, the only threat to security is a system that denies the citizens their political and economic rights through the use of force and corruption.

PSI will continue to monitor the situation on the ground today and we send solidarity to our unions and their members who face police suppression and violence.