South Africa’s main trade union, Cosatu, is threatening to break ties with the ruling ANC party as a pay dispute enters its ninth day.
Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers have downed tools and taken to the streets in several cities.
They are demanding an 8.6% pay rise. The government has upped its initial offer from 6.5% to 7% but Cosatu and other unions say that is not enough.
Monica Venter from the Health and Other Service Personnel trade union of South Africa warned there was more to come.
“This will be a mass action that will be indicating to the employers that the public servants are very serious about their salaries increases and housing allowances and we want to go back to the negotiation table and we want a better offer,” she said.
Cosatu says it will call out private sector workers in key industries like mining unless the government gives in.
But some analysts say the threat of breaking ties with the ANC is a bluff – the union owes its influence to the alliance it forged with the ANC back in the days of apartheid.
However the terms of agreement may have to be renegotiated.