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Saturday, May 12, 2007

South Africa braces for massive gov't union strike

A major public-service strike over pay, that could see up to a million workers down tools crippling basic services, was set to go ahead in South Africa in late May, reports said Friday. The strike for a 12-per-cent pay increase compared with the 6 per cent offered by the government, had been set for the last week of May, South Africa's state broadcaster SABC reported.

'COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) will embark on a strike in the last week of May and the other (public sector) unions will join us later in the month,' SABC quoted Don Pasquallie, the deputy general secretary of the Teacher's Union who has been acting as spokesperson on the wage negotiations, as saying.

Yet, a spokesperson for COSATU, Patrick Craven, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa he had no knowledge of any date for the strike being announced.

Earlier Friday, COSATU and several independent public sector unions had met to discuss the strike which would involve teachers, nurses and police officers as well as other public servants.

Pasquallie told SABC that some of the independent unions needed more time to prepare and would join the COSATU-led strike before month's end.

The government, meanwhile, said it was waiting on the unions to come back with fresh proposals.