Friday, May 1, 2015

International Workers' Day in Africa


  • The National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) officially announced that the official celebration of May Day, also known as International Workers' Day, on May 1 would be celebrated at the Kuisebmond Stadium in Walvis Bay. President Hage Geingob is expected to be the keynote speaker.

    During the week before the workers’ day, the NUNW will be holding its 6th ordinary congress.

    Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA) will deliberate on workers' rights issues at this year's Workers' Day celebration in L├╝deritz. The theme for the celebrations is: "Dynamic Workforce is a Must in These Trying Times". TUCNA, secretary general Mahongora Kavihuha, says there are still challenges to fundamental human rights such as the right to strike and the federation joined its colleagues across the globe to tackle this anomaly. Kavihuha says the association has interrogated the social dialogue regime in Namibia with a view of transforming it because they found out that it does not serve the purpose for the workers, employers or government. "As a result, we have carried out a comprehensive study with clear achievable recommendations," he says, adding that the federation is busy developing a bipartite position paper between the federation and Namibian Employers' Federation using the coalition study.


  • Trade unionists and democracy campaigners in Swaziland are on a collision course with the police and state security after they refused to seek formal permission to hold a May Day rally. The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) has confirmed that commemorations of the workers' day will take place at the Salesian Sports Ground in Manzini, the commercial capital of Swaziland, on 1 May 2015. Vincent Ncongwane, TUCOSWA Secretary General, said his federation had informed the police of its decision to host the event. The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa, reported him saying, 'We will not be seeking permission from the police to host the event, it is unlawful to be forced to seek permission and there is no statute in the labour laws that allows the police to demand us to seek permission from them to host Workers Day.' He added the fact that they had informed the police was sufficient and that they would not be seeking permission as police had instructed them to do in past years.


  • The theme for this year's workers’ day celebration in Zambia is 'Promoting national economic growth through job creation, free collective bargaining and respect of workers' rights'.

    There have been sporadic calls for the boycott of workers’ day celebrations in that country. The Judiciary and Allied Workers Union (JAZWUZ) has joined the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) in calling for a boycott of celebrations although it is unclear whether the calls will be heeded. JAZWUZ president Peter Mwale said that boycotting the event will make government aware that workers were unhappy about the wage freeze that has continued being in effect. Mwale said that they had not picked on the call by the UPND but had acted out of their own volition in calling for the boycott of May, 1 celebrations."The call for a boycott does not matter whether it has been called for by the UPND but I think we the labour movement should have led such calls because we have suffered for a long time," he said. "We have had a wage freeze and have not done enough to oppose it and if maybe we stay away from [workers’ day] the message will be taken seriously. "There has however been no backing call from the parent body the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions.

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