September 15th, 2010
02:35 PM GMT
The strike that crippled South Africa’s hospitals and schools is no longer in the headlines, but it’s not over yet.
The public servants strike was suspended after three weeks of teachers, nurses and hospital workers staying away from work.
There is no resolution yet to the pay dispute, just a limbo of uncertainties as unions say they are working out a draft wage agreement with the government.
The unions say they have won a victory because the government failed to crush the strike, but in reality the biggest losers were the striking workers, say economists.
Although South Africans have a constitutional right to strike, they do so with a no work, no pay caveat, so after nearly 20 days on the picket line many of the strikers were much worse off financially than they were before the strike.
Economists calculate that striking teachers and nurses have lost about 5% of their annual salary.
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