Public sector workers in South Africa are poised to escalate their three week old strike in support of a pay rise, calling for police and prison officers to join their action. The labour federation COSATU wants a 12% increase for its members and accuses the country’s president of promoting big business at the expense of millions of poor South Africans. The government says its cannot afford a big wage hike and has now offered 7.5%.
The mass action which began on June 1st has crippled hospitals and schools and has highlighted divisions between the ruling African National Congress and its powerful trade union allies. A court is due to rule on whether police can legally join the dispute while negotiations are continuing.