Saturday, August 28, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Miners to join South African public sector strike Aug 27 2010

Miners in South Africa plan to join the massive public sector strike that
has already crippled the the government in recent weeks.

The National Union of Mineworkers said Friday it will join the public
sector strike next week if the government does not meet the demands of
strikers who want more money.

"We are angry that whilst those who are privileged have children go to
school overseas; our children have turned into street kids," the union
said in a statement. "The NUM fully supports the public sector strike and
would next week Thursday ensure that every mining operation, every
construction site and every energy worker joins the public sector strike
in different forms."

Industrial unrest has hit South Africa several times during the past few
weeks as striking public sector workers have halted services across the
country, including at schools and hospitals. Employees have called for
wage rises of more than eight percent and 1,000 rand housing allowances as
part of their demands. The government is offering a seven per cent pay
hike and 630 rand for housing.

But the government says it cannot afford to meet workers' demands and has
ordered military doctors and nurses into dozens of hospitals to protect
vulnerable members of society.

South Africa has been hit hard by the global recession, losing 900,000
jobs last year on top of already high unemployment.

South African labour unions have said that they will cut ties with the
ruling party, and widen a national public sector strike, unless their pay
demands are met. The labour unions were key supporters of the ruling
African National Congress (ANC) and Jacob Zuma, the country's president,
helping him win the last election.

The latest comments by union leaders were some of the strongest signals to
date that organised labour may be ready to cut, or change, its
relationship with the ANC that was forged in the struggle to end

Striking workers have rallied in South Africa's main cities and towns,
including the capital Pretoria, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Limpopo, KwaZulu
Natal and the North West Province among others.

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