In South Africa, thousands of public sector employees have started a statewide strike in protest of low pay.
It’s reported that, the government proposed a 3 percent pay increase, but unions are asking a 10 percent increase in light of growing inflation, which is why Tuesday’s “National Day of Action” was called.
The dispute between the government and its employees piles pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa, as he seeks re-election as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.
Seven unions – representing about 800,000 public servants, including those working in hospitals, schools and police stations – are marching in eight of the country’s provinces. Last week, members promised to stage picket lines and demonstrations outside hospitals, ports and government offices in a “show of force”.
“With the rapidly increased cost of living … the government wants public servants to be at peace with less than inflation increases. This cannot stand,” the unions said in a joint statement last week.
Inflation in South Africa was at 7.5 percent in September, down from a peak of 7.8 percent in July.
Earlier this month, labour minister Thulas Nxesi said the government would unilaterally implement a 3 percent increase across the board – an offer dismissed by workers’ representatives as “paltry”.
Last week, in an attempt to avert the strike, the government made a final offer of an effective 7.5 percent wage increase – comprising 3 percent pensionable and 4.5 percent non-pensionable funds. But in a joint statement on November 18, the unions called the news of the offer “misleading”.
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