South Africa government workers commence strike over low pay

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Thousands of public workers have downed tools on Thursday in a nationwide strike over wages after talks with the government to get a 6.5% increase, hit a deadlock, threatening to affect essential services.

Union members belonging to the Public Servants Association including nurses, immigration workers and some police officers picketed outside the Treasury office in Pretoria waving black placards with various inscriptions.

The wage stalemate between the government and its employees escalated after Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi, last week declared he would unilaterally implement a three percent increase across the board.

The PSA had warned on Wednesday that the strike would “have a serious impact” on the home affairs, transport and border control departments.

It pointed out the minister’s “irresponsible action has further damaged the already fragile relations and severe trust deficit” between government and unions.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana, during his October mini-budget speech, said that government could only afford an average wage increase of 3.3%.

The increase weighs below South Africa’s inflation which peaked at 7.8% in July.




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