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Eswatini Railway Train drivers down tools, demand better working conditions.

Thursday, 2nd December, 2021

MPAKA:Eswatini Railway Train drivers decided to down tools on Thursday, they are accusing  their Management of forcing them to work under very harsh and risky conditions.

In a letter addressed to the ER management, the Eswatini Railway Workers Union(ESRWU) alleged that the train drivers were being made illegal immigrants in South Africa in the absence of long stamps adding that they would stay away from work until their grievances were addressed.

 "We are forced to be illegal immigrants in South Africa and sleep outside with no shelter at Komatiport and Golela borders using informal crossing paths”, read the letter in part.

In response to the workers union letter, the Eswatini Railway (ER) management  said the workers grievances would be addressed by the relevant departments.

 “Regarding the safety of the workers crew complaint we will request  the office of Train and Operations and Inspectorate Managers to engage  relevant  authorities  from the Assistant Train Operations", read the letter in part.

The workers have resolved to stop working with immediate effect until the issue of long stamps was addressed. The long stamps would allow them to legally cross the border.

On  or around 16 September 2021, the Chief Immigration Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs wrote a letter to the workers union informing them that the Ministry had withdrawn long stamps.

“Regrettably,long stamps were withdrawn and are currently being reviewed.All clients, including Eswatini Railway will be informed accordingly once this service is available", read the communication from the Chief Immigration Officer.

When reached for comments, Mlungisi Makhanya, President of the People's United Democratic Movement  (PUDEMO) Mlungisi Makhanya  urged the ER management  to urgently address the legitimate grievances of the workers.

To want to subject these legitimate grievances to cumbersome internal bureaucracy is tantamount to being contemptuous. PUDEMO will always unapologetically take the side of the exploited and fight side by side with them in restoring their dignity”, said the PUDEMO President.

Eswatini Railway Train drivers down tools, demand better working conditions.
Eswatini Railway train drivers.