Swazi police fire rubber bullets at striking workers
Friday, 13 July 2012, 09:41
NATIONAL NEWS - Swaziland police on Thursday fired rubber bullets at striking public service workers as the government clamped down on the action, now in its third week, a union official said.
The demonstrators were part of about 500 workers, including nurses and teachers who were going to deliver a petition to the Ministry of Public Service, demanding a salary adjustment of 4.5 percent.
Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, injuring eight people and 13 others were arrested, including the leader of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), Quinton Dlamini.
"What we heard was that 13 people were arrested and eight were shot. Our leaders have gone to hospital to check them," said Phinda Ndwandwe, regional leader of NAPSAWU.
Public service workers in the impoverished kingdom ruled by Africa's last absolute mornach King Mswati III have not had salary increases since 2010.
The country is battling a financial crisis, which has crippled the public service and shut down schools.
Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku has ordered the workers to return to work, saying the strike was illegal.
About 60 percent of the Swaziland 1.2 million people live on less than two dollars a day.
The country's problems have been blamed on Mswati's state-funded extravagant lifestyle, who supports his 13 wives and his refusal to implement democratic reforms.
Source : Sapa
Posted on: 09:41 Fri, 13 July 2012
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