International: A new merged union is launched in Swaziland

A new union was launched in Swaziland on April 25 to 27, 2003 . The new union brings unions in the manufacturing, mining, metal and engineering, construction and water services together into one union.

The merger is the culmination of support by the International Metalworkers Federation (IMF) and Numsa, of the desire of Swaziland workers to start building strong and viable unions instead of small and poorly resourced organisations.

The merger congress, which was held in Ezulwini, was graced by the attendance of Numsa General Secretary and IMF representatives. The President of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, Africa Magongo, welcomed the new trade union as an attempt by Swazi workers to further free themselves from political and economic oppression.

He gave examples of other unions within the federation who had gone that route and had emerged very strong. He lamented the fact that they are still small unions who are comfortable with their present positions.

He encouraged the new union and its leadership not to depart from democratic practices but that they must always listen and act on behalf of those that they are leading. For Numsa and the IMF it was a celebration.

The merger also brought back old memories of the merger of 7 unions in South Africa to form Numsa. The IMF also played an important role in this process. The Numsa General Secretary, Silumko Nondwangu, in congratulating the new union said this was a small beginning but was very important for workers.

The congress which was held over three days discussed several resolutions among them one on how to build a strong union and federation, recruiting campaign, self-sufficiency, union education, collective bargaining and the political situation in the country.

The President of the new union, Simeon Magagula, who is from the construction industry, said that the theme of the congress 'enough is enough', summed up the mood of the Swazi workers – they are "tired of the small, weak, ineffective, undemocratic unions and bad conditions they are facing at workplaces and in the country."

He further indicated that many people are watching whether this merger will fail or not. He urged all delegates to go back to their workplaces to work very hard to build the union.


Numsa News