Wednesday, 13 June 2007

South Africa braced for massive strike

Thousands of public sector workers are expected to join one of the biggest strikes in South Africa's history on Wednesday.

Public sector trade unions have warned of a total economic shutdown.

Most of the country's schools and hospitals are already closed due to an ongoing strike over public sector pay.

Negotiations between the unions and the government are in deadlock and hundreds of striking health workers have been sacked by the government.

The unions say their activities will peak on Wednesday and have urged other workers to join them in a one-day "solidarity" strike.

"It's going to be a total shutdown tomorrow [Wednesday] in public services and the economy. It's going be a massive strike involving marches in major cities and pickets outside government buildings," said Willy Madisha, president of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) labour federation.

Cosatu has predicted as many as two-million people could stay away from work.

The unions, which called the strike 12 days ago, have refused the government's revised offer of a 7.25% pay rise.

Workers, who had wanted a 12% increase, say they will not go below 10%.

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