Socialist Worker

The South African revolt against poverty

Issue No. 1960

Around 200,000 South African local government workers struck for a day on Tuesday over pay.

The Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu) arranged 60 marches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban and in small towns such as Delmas, Welkom and Kuruman.

The unions are demanding a 9 percent across the board increase and a minimum wage of £250 a month. The current minimum is £205 a month.

Samwu general secretary Roger Ronnie said that the employers’ present offer was effectively a pay cut because of soaring price rises. “The employers’ offer seeks to condemn thousands of lives to abject poverty. House prices have increased by an average of 32 percent in the past 18 months,” he said.

This week’s strike is a further sign of unrest with the government and employers. On 27 June over two million workers joined a stayaway over unemployment and poverty.

Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Cosatu union federation, told a rally, “What do we see, 11 years after liberation? Both the data and our own experiences point to growing inequalities. A tiny minority still controls the wealth of our country.”

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Sat 16 Jul 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1960
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