Union federations in the public sector yesterday said they were consulting and balloting their members about the strike action and brushed aside a threat of no-work, no-pay by the government.
Labour federation Cosatu and the Public Sector Association (PSA) said they were waiting for the results of the strike ballot from members.
The results were expected to be announced this Friday, said PSA chief Manie de Clerq.
Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said they were expecting the result "soon" and once it was known, the union would make an announcement.
The 250000-strong Confederation of South African Workers' Unions (Consawu), with two unions in the public sector representing about 60000 members, were not balloting because Consawu is not part of the Public Sector Collective Bargaining Council. But secretary-general Khulile Nkushubana said the union had already received a mandate to support other public sector union strikes.
According to De Clerq, members of their seven independent unions had been given until Friday to complete their balloting.
Though earlier reports showed that the PSA members were less keen to go on strike than Cosatu, De Clerq said their preliminary results showed that members wanted to embark on a strike.
De Clerq, who is also the chairman of the independent caucus of the seven unions, which makes up 43percent of the vote in the Public Service Bargaining Council, said his members had been told to prepare for an indefinite strike and the association's actions would be coordinated with other unions that have balloted for a strike.
He brushed aside threats by Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi of a no-work, no-pay policy. The unions did not expect serious consequences from their action because they would be embarking on a legal strike, he said. - Staff Reporter