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Some South African unions accept government offers, others continue to strike

August 16, 2011

Strike season wages on in South Africa, and some unions are settling for government offers, while others are still holding out for higher wage increases. The International Business Times reports that strike season typically begins in July, as most contracts expire at the end of June. Nearly every union that staged walk-outs and strikes sought wage increases in excess of 10 percent, and the government countered with offers between 7 and 10 percent, which many decided to accept.

Teachers and nurses in South Africa will surely be celebrating, as the government offered to raise their wages by 6.8 percent. The offer is a preemptive attempt to avoid a repeat of last year's strike, which disrupted hospital and school services, according to Business Week. The National Education Health and Allied Worker's Union and the South African Democratic Teachers Union, which together have more than 500,000 members, both accepted the offer.

The 14 unions that represent 1.3 million state workers initially demanded a 9 percent raise and the government countered with 5.2 percent. The 220,000 members of the Public Servants Association are still deciding whether to accept the government's most recent proposed increase.

You can place calls to South Africa with phone cards to ask family and friends how the strikes are progressing.

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