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Pressespiegel, Südafrika

07. September 2010

Public service strike suspended

South African civil servants have suspended their three-week-old strike while workers at the country's public schools, hospitals and courts decide whether to accept the government's latest wage offer.

Speaking on Monday at a press conference for all the unions involved in the strike, South African Democratic Teachers Union chairman Thobile Ntola said that workers would be given 21 days to decide whether to accept the latest offer.

About 1.3-million public servants "downed tools" 20 days ago demanding an 8.6 percent wage increase and a R1 000 housing subsidy. The government's offer initially stood at 6.5 percent and a R620 housing allowance, but a revised offer of 7.5 percent and a R800 housing subsidy was put on the table.

The revised offer was initially rejected, but unions have been meeting with their members since Thursday to explain the details of the government's offer, which includes other benefits such as improved medical insurance.

The strike has closed down state schools and severely affected services at South Africa's public hospitals, where army medics have been deployed in support of doctors.

Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi said the announcement of the return to work was "a welcome development for the public service and the country in general.

"In the spirit of Working Together, we urge those who are returning to the workplace to ensure that we deliver the services that are so sorely needed by all communities across our country," Baloyi said in a statement on Monday.

"Consultations with labour will continue as government and South Africans at large want to see this impasse resolved as quickly as possible so that service delivery can be accelerated."

SAinfo reporter and BuaNews

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