South African municipal workers have suspended a nationwide strike ahead of the next week local polls, after the ruling African National Congress intervened, the union said Tuesday.
“The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) national strike action that was to take place this Friday has been suspended, due to the late but welcomed intervention by the ANC,” said union spokesman Tahir Sema.
Top officials from the ANC met with the union in an effort to avert the strike, which could have cost the ruling party votes and disrupts municipal services.
About 220,000 workers were due to go on strike on Friday, saying local government had failed to address their wage increase demands.
They are demanding an 18 percent salary increase, but the government has offered six percent.
They also want President Jacob Zuma to fire Cooperative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka, who has been on sick leave since February.
Sema said Samwu “had welcomed the commitment made by the ANC, to look into all areas of concern, raised by the union.”
He said the timing of the union’s threat to strike ahead of the May 18 vote was strategic, aimed at forcing political parties to listen to the workers’ grievances.