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Swaziland fires striking teachers

Aug 02 2012 12:55 AFP

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Mbabane - The Swazi government has fired 110 teachers who ignored a court order forcing them to end a five-week strike which shut down schools across the country, media reported on Thursday.

The dismissal came after the teachers ignored a court order to end the strike.

"They have been fired with immediate effect," Education Minister Wilson Ntshangase told The Times of Swaziland.

Teachers in this impoverished absolute monarchy have not had a pay increase since 2010 as King Mswati III's government battles to finance its massive public wage bill.

They are demanding a 4.5% salary increase. Nurses also joined in the strike but have since returned to work.

Ntshangase said traditional chiefs and headmen had been roped in to monitor schools and report teachers who do not report for duty.

"Chiefs are now reporting teachers who do not teach. My advice to teachers is that they return to class," he said.

Some of the country's 14 000 teachers who joined the strike have had their salaries slashed and received only $4 for their last paycheck.

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