MBABANE: Mduduzi Gina, the Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) said health and frontline workers should be commended for their zeal in protecting the lives of the citizens despite all the challenges they faced on a daily basis since the advent of the COVID -19 pandemic.
Speaking during a virtual Workers Day Celebration on Saturday, the TUCOSWA Acting Secretary General said the health system was overwhelmed and this was a wake-up call to the authorities of this country to give priority to the provision of quality public health care as the pandemic found health workers already struggling with basic protective clothing (PPE) and utensils to save the lives of the people.
The TUCOSWA Secretary General said the safety of health workers was compromised and their fundamental right to work in a healthy environment was breached adding that there was a need to review some of the labour laws.
“We need laws that will give complete guarantee for the protection of workers against any hazards at the workplace. Laws that would recognise the diseases of the time. At this time of corona, our laws do not list corona as an occupational disease despite that many workers are likely to get infected with the virus in the line of duty. We have noted that some employers are not granting paid sick leaves to those workers who happen to be in isolation due to COVID-19, this is an unfair labour practice”, said the TUCOSWA Secretary General.
The unionist further noted that workers are still not paid their long service benefit when they retire, severance pay is no longer paid at retirement. A majority of the private sector workers are without pension schemes, these workers only retire with their last monthly wage, a very painful scenario. Therefore, as a Congress they are appealing to government to speed up the amendment of the Employment Act to reinstate this world wide recognised benefit of the workers.