Public service unions meet to decide on date for strike

WANTING MORE: People get restive at a Cosatu rally last year. 10/05/07.

Flexing muscle: Cosatu members march in Johannesburg during the two day strike to protest against the government's privatisation policy. 
Pic: Elizabeth Sejake. 
© ST.
WANTING MORE: People get restive at a Cosatu rally last year. 10/05/07. Flexing muscle: Cosatu members march in Johannesburg during the two day strike to protest against the government's privatisation policy. Pic: Elizabeth Sejake. © ST.

The schedule for a potentially massive public sector strike that is expected to last a month will probably be divulged after unions meet later this week.

The schedule for a potentially massive public sector strike that is expected to last a month will probably be divulged after unions meet later this week.

Patrick Craven, spokesman for Cosatu, yesterday said a series of marches and rallies would be likely in the run-up to the strike.

About 800000 workers, representing about 60percent of civil servants, including teachers, health workers and police, could be involved.

"There will be a meeting of Cosatu-affiliated public sector unions tomorrow [today] and one on Friday with all the unions," said Craven.

Public sector unions have rejected the government's 6percent wage increase offer.

They demand 12percent.

Monday was the last day of a 30-day period that the government and unions had allowed themselves to find a solution.

Public Service Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi has said the 12percent demand is unaffordable.

The Federation of Association of School Governing Bodies in South Africa said teachers' current salaries and benefits did not reflect the importance of their role.

Recently national chairman Mike Randell said: "The service benefits of educators should reflect the fact that they are professional people."

But Duncan Hindle, the director- general of the Department of Education, has warned that teachers stand to lose a combined income of R70 million a day.

The director-general of the Department of Health Thamsanqa Dennis Mseleku said it would be illegal for health workers to strike because they performed an essential service. - Sapa

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