Frustrations mount over strike

2010-08-24 14:45
Johannesburg – Public frustrations over civil servants' week-long strike mounted on Tuesday, as pregnant women were turned away from public hospitals and government said scores of strikers had been arrested.

Babies were turned away from a Johannesburg children's hospital along with at least 20 heavily pregnant women, including some already in labour on the sidewalk, newspapers reported.

Hundreds of volunteers and about 1 700 soldiers are working at public hospitals as some nurses have defied a court order barring essential staff from joining the strike in a wage dispute with the government.

"It's a sad day when people are turned away from hospitals," one volunteer told The Times newspaper. "The striking workers intimidate us while we are trying to help. They accuse us of stealing their jobs."

Most public hospitals and clinics were running with at least skeleton staffing. Doctors have not joined the strike.

Strikers arrested

Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said 89 strikers have been arrested since the strike began on August 18, mainly around Johannesburg and in the mining town of Kimberley for public violence or intimidating workers who stayed on the job.

But neither side has shown any sign of backing down, with unions insisting on an 8.6% increase and a R1 000 housing allowance. The government has offered seven percent and a R700 allowance.

Anger over the wage offer is fuelled in part by what workers see as conspicuous spending by senior government officials on expensive cars and luxury hotels.

"The government ministers who deny workers their meagre wage increase have spent millions of Rands on luxury vehicles and are living caviar lifestyles at the expense of the poor majority that is dependent of government services," the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union said on Tuesday.

"This is a case of the shepherd feeding himself and forgetting about the lambs," he said.
Read more on:    nehawu  |  themba maseko  |  strikes
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
/News
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong focus on sharing the optimistic energy with your loved one. You are in the mood to go large and impress your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.