S.African municipal workers strike enters fifth day

19th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Hundreds of South African municipal workers marched through Johannesburg city centre Friday as the nationwide strike for higher wages entered its fifth day.

The march took place under a heavy police presence after violence broke out this week in Cape Town during protests organised by the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).

Workers have been offered six percent but are demanding an 18 percent or 2000 rand ($276 dollars, 193 euros) wage increase, more than three times the rate of headline inflation of five percent in June.

"The employer could afford the 18 percent without increasing rates and taxes, check what the executives are taking home," said the union's provincial chairman Koena Ramotlou.

He said the union also wanted municipalities to stop outsourcing work to private companies.

"We want our jobs back. They have outsourced our jobs to their friends," said Ramotlou.

About 500 marchers sang and chanted slogans before handing over a memorandum of demands to the premier's office.

The city had suspended bus services and incidents of violence against non-striking workers, who setting waste bins alight, smashed cars and robbed stalls in Cape Town and other cities,

The mid-year winter months of contract negotiations are known as "strike season" in South Africa with walkouts in some major industries, including coal and gold mining, oil refineries and engineering, since June.

© 2011 AFP

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