State unions give notice of strike this month

Kingdom Mabuza and Sapa

Kingdom Mabuza and Sapa

The South African Democratic Teachers' Union and the South African State and Allied Workers' Union are the first of the public- service unions to notify the government of their intention to strike.

Public service and administration minister Geraldine Fraser- Moleketi said she received the notifications from the Cosatu-affiliated unions yesterday.

Unions must give the employer, in this case the state, seven days notice before embarking on a protected strike.

On Tuesday eight Cosatu affiliates said a full-scale indefinite strike would begin on May 28 that could lead to millions of public servants deserting their posts.

The unions have demanded a 12percent wage increase. Yesterday Fraser-Moleketi reiterated that the government would offer no more than 6percent.

She urged public servants to stick to agreements that make it compulsory that they provide essential services to the public when on strike.

"Public servants have a moral obligation not to put the lives of people at risk. We will take disciplinary action [if they do]," she said.

S he said that if the government agreed to the unions' demand , it would have to take money away from other pressing needs. Education, housing, sanitation and transport infrastructure would suffer, she said.

"The overall package [offered] is more than 6percent and workers who go on strike will do so because of insufficient information," Fraser-Moleketi said.