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Tense standoff at Swazi Maloma Colliery

27 November, 2014Striking workers at Maloma Colliery in Swaziland have retreated to a hill and refuse to return to work until their demand for a housing allowance are met.

Workers embarked on a legal strike action on 24 November, seeking to double their USD40 housing allowance. Some of the miners earn a mere USD250 a month. The mine is majority owned by South African company Chancellor House with close ties to South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress. 

The miners are organized by the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA), which was formed following a merger of nine unions in Swaziland last year. The government of Swaziland has refused to register the union along with the national centre, the Trade Union Confederation of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) formed through a merger in 2012.

Strikers have been confronted by police, despite the strike action being peaceful and this led to the retreat up the hill. Mine management is now denying the strikers water, sanitation and medical treatment.

“The workers have vowed that they are not returning to work or going back to their homes unless the company meets their demands,” said Wander Mkhonza, General Secretary of ATUSWA.

We urge the company to follow the path of the workers and commit itself on negotiations and desist from intimidating workers.