September 1st, 2010
05:39 PM GMT
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The South African government has increased its offer to striking public sector workers, in the latest effort to end a walkout that has crippled hospitals and schools across the country.

After repeatedly saying the country could not afford to increase wages to the levels demanded by the unions, the government has now increased its offer from 7 to 7.5 percent, which is nearly double the inflation rate – but less than the 8.6 percent rise unions have demanded.

The government has argued that the money spent on giving public servants wage increases could be used to create jobs, build more houses and help South Africa's poor.

The striking workers, who include teachers and nurses, contend that they are a critical part of South Africa's work force and that they are not earning a living wage.

Is the decision to offer a 7.5 percent increase the right one? Can you see a better way to resolve this dispute? I'd like to hear your views.

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Hershcel. P. Derp

    Ah, the joys of union strikes. Nothing is ever enough. 8% pay increase? Surely they are joking. No union in the US would EVER get that these days in a strike; how much less of a chance does a developing nation have then?

    Ridiculous. The government should do what Reagan did; fire them and give their jobs to those who want to work. These people are an important part of the every day infrastructure and they're striking over less than an extra dollar on their pay checks.

    September 1, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  2. Soonitha

    The corruption in Government is unbelievable, monies spent unnecessarily on luxuries will make any educator livid.As teachers we are paid a pittance compared to people who are underqualified but are receiving a fat salary. Where's the justice? I understand the plight of the pupils but please also understand the teachers situation.

    September 1, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  3. Steven

    Seriously, people of South Africa should catch a wake up call. 7.5% which is twice the inflation rate and they're still complaining. This will have a huge impact on the governments budget which in turn will affect all South Africans. If the government is tight on the budget, where else will it get the money from but from the taxpayers. At the end of the day its the taxpayers that need to fork out the additional money to cover the expenses of the government. The government is not making money, they're bailing out entities like the national broadcaster and airline. The government officials are corrupt and tries to excavate as much money as they can while on duty.

    The automotive industry is going on strike, the petrol attendants are going on strike, the public servants are already on strike. The only good is they stopped the police force going on strike.

    People vote the ANC into power, its time they realise that this party is not delivering.

    September 1, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  4. zac swann

    teathers need more pay 99.7 cercent teachers have a family

    September 2, 2010 at 2:15 am |
  5. JB

    An important but seldom raised issue seems to be the mismatch between who the taxpayers are and who the recipients of this increase will be. There are only 3.5M to 5M income tax payers in South Africa of the population of 50m, so taxing more to pay the significant public sector is seen as a way to redistribute wealth.

    I think the Government should link any deal above its 7% offer to the VAT rate. (i.e. Up 0.5% in the offer, raise VAT by 0.25%). This will give credibility to its position that it really can not afford to give more and it will mean that the full South African public is funding the wage increases not just a small portion. I think, if the Government took this approach we would see a very different flavour in the 'populist' support that the public sector workers receive.

    September 2, 2010 at 5:33 am |
  6. markus

    Something must happen soon! the nurses are striking, people are dying in the hospitals, strikers are attacking school busses, they attack schools as well, they enter schools for children with special needs, push them around, lock them into classrooms for hours, the children are confused and under shock. something must happen.

    thats how it started in Zimbabwe by the way...

    September 2, 2010 at 6:40 am |
  7. Sheilan

    These strikes seem unnecessary but with the cost of living especially here in SA being so high, you've got to understand public servants' frustrations. Also, government says the don't have the money to increase their wages? What a total lie! The big boys in government AND their families enjoy the high life yet they claim they are "for the people" and "seek to meet their needs". Money is spent on superfluous things here and when they need money for lets say, AIDS vaccines or something, they borrow!

    It is unfortunate though that the school kids especially in grade 12 have to suffer and hospitals have to operate on minimal staff or some even closed.

    I hope with all this going on, those people who voted for the "ruling" party, ANC, will FINALLY open their eyes.

    September 2, 2010 at 7:11 am |
  8. tesh

    my mom is a teacher, for 25 yrs, she takes home R8000.00
    unacceptable.more than anything people r tired of corrupt officials who are milking our gov through tenders behind the strike 100%, matimba!

    September 3, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  9. tesh

    "abahlohlesakhe" sums it up.

    September 3, 2010 at 11:04 am |
  10. Anthony

    The South African public tolerates a corrupt government, votes for it, then complains about it endlessly. We as an electorate are politically immature. In a democracy you get what you voted for. We got this corrupt and inept administration because we put it there and keep it there. Worse still is to come with the idiotic populism of the Malema generation of opportunists.

    September 10, 2010 at 5:50 pm |

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