Swazi court: Reinstate fired teachers

2012-08-04 08:13
Swazi teachers protesting. (Jinty Jackson, AFP)

Swazi teachers protesting. (Jinty Jackson, AFP)

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Mbabane - A Swazi court on Friday ordered the government to reinstate more than 300 teachers fired after taking part in a five-week strike over salaries, saying their action was legal.

"Government is therefore interdicted from firing teachers and the matter shall return to court at a later date," Judge Nkosinathi Nkonyane said in his ruling.

The teachers were fired after they ignored a court order to return to work, in a strike that shut down schools across the impoverished monarchy ruled by King Mswati III.

Teachers have not had a pay increase since 2010 as the government battles to finance its massive public wage bill.
They are demanding a 4.5% salary hike.

After the court verdict, jubilant teachers marched in the streets of the capital Mbabane to deliver a petition to the education ministry to stop the dismissals.

Protests have grown since last year in the traditionally peaceful kingdom, which is bordered on three sides by South Africa, where trade unions and the banned political movements are calling for democratic reforms.

The country's problems are partly blamed on absolute ruler Mswati's extravagant lifestyle, supporting his 13 wives each in her own palace and high-flying international shopping trips, all paid for by state funds.

Read more on:    king mswati iii  |  swaziland  |  southern africa

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