Monday, July 05, 2010

South African Government Workers Threaten Strike Within Two Weeks

Govt workers threaten strike within two weeks

Jul 05 2010 11:38

Unions representing 1,3-million government workers are threatening to
strike within two weeks, but the planned action is unlikely to disrupt
the Soccer World Cup, which heads for its final on Sunday.

The state employees are the latest workers to threaten industrial
action that could have disrupted the world's largest sporting event
staged for the first time on African soil, embarrassing President
Jacob Zuma and his government. But the unions said on Monday it may take two weeks to mobilise the workers and they still hoped for a
resolution to the dispute.

"We are left with no other option but to consider the most severe
option to us, which is strike action," said John Malukele, chief
negotiator for the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

Fourteen unions affiliated to the powerful Cosatu have threatened to strike.

"It can be within two weeks, all depends on when we can get a mandate from the five teacher unions that will return to school on July 13," Malukele said.

The unions said the workers, including nurses, police officers,
teachers and other government officials such as immigration staff,
turned down a 6,5% wage raise.

They are demanding an above-inflation salary increase of 8,5% and a
doubling of housing allowances to R1 000 a month.

Labour unions have used the World Cup to bargain for higher wages,
which analysts warn could in the long run ruin the country's ability
to attract investment and create jobs as it recovers from recession.

In a separate dispute, South African unions on Sunday dropped a threat to strike at Eskom this week after receiving a higher wage offer,
ending concerns about electricity supplies during the tournament. --

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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