Massive public service strike lingers

2010-07-23 14:22

A sweeping industrial action by public service workers is looming.

The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (Nupsaw) is the latest union to take a decision to go on strike after four months of fruitless salary negotiations with the government.

The overwhelming majority of Nupsaw members have voted in favour of the strike.

Nupsaw spokesperson Nomthandazo Mahlangu said: “This strike action will bring the whole public service industry to a standstill, involving teachers, nurses, police and the rest of the state workers.”

Nupsaw would give an opportunity to other unions to make up their mind before notifying the government of its intention to strike, Mahlangu said.

She added: “We will give the government a notice of seven days on Monday (so that) the strike can commence on the following Monday.”

Earlier, another union, the Health and Other Service Personnel Trade Union of SA (Hospersa) also rejected the state’s 6.5% pay increase and signalled its intention to strike. Consultation with members was to be completed later today, and notices would then be served on the employer, said Hospersa general secretary Noel Desfontaines.

The union said: “Hospersa is demanding an 8.6% across the board salary increase and an increase in the housing allowance from R500 to R1?000.”

Desfontaines warned that a strike would compromise patient care in hospitals.

“Hospersa has no other choice but to notify the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council of its intention to embark on industrial action,” he said.

However, the union was still open to negotiations and urged the employer to reconsider its offer.

The Public Servants’ Association and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union were also prepared to strike.

The SA Municipal Workers’ Union was still considering the matter.

The Democratic Nursing Association of SA said it had also rejected the employer’s wage offer but that it considered a strike a last resort.

The unions and Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi met yesterday. Baloyi said he hoped to be able to present a revised offer next week.

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