S African workers strike over wages

Public sector unions say strike will continue if government fails to meet demands.

     Unions representing 1.3 million government workers backed the strike [AFP]

    Pay raise dispute

    Unions are calling for an 8.6 per cent pay hike, twice the current rate of inflation, and a 1,000 rand ($138) monthly housing allowance.

    The South African government is offering a seven per cent pay hike and 630 rand for housing.

    However, it is likely to raise its offer rather than risk a walk-out that could prompt a prolonged public sector strike reminiscent of a 2007 strike that dented the economy and damaged support for Zuma's predecessor.

    Experts predict the ruling African National Congress (ANC), in a long-standing alliance with Cosatu and the South African Communist Party (SACP), will give in to the unions' demands.

    Tuesday's strike affected schools and public offices, but essential services such as police and hospitals were running, albeit on reduced staffing.

    A mid-grade public sector employee makes on average 8,800 rand a month in salary and benefits, above the national average wage of 6,383 rand, according to government figures.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.