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Car workers strike as public sector votes on govt offer

media Workers demonstrate at Albert Luthuli hospital in Durban Reuters

South Africa’s spring of industrial discontent threatens to linger on with the country’s 70,000 car workers coming out on strike Wednesday. Meanwhile, the government has to wait until this evening to hear whether the 1.3 million public-sector workers have accepted its new offer.

The car workers are taking action in support of their own demands. But miners Wednesday called off a one-day sympathy strike with the public service action as the strikers vote on whether to accept the offer.

The government’s offer is more than one per cent lower than the sum that the workers have been demanding.

Their strike now in its third week has closed schools and forced hospitals to run on skeleton staff of military medics and civilian volunteers.

Action by the National Union of Mineworkers, the country’s largest labour federation, would have been a blow to a key South African business.

The public-sector strike is estimated to be costing the country 120 million euros a day.

Public Services Minister Richard Baloyi says government will have to borrow and reduce services to meet the 7.5 per cent increase it’s offering its workers.

If the strikers vote against the government offer, the 19,000-strong communications workers union has said it will join them.

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