SOUTH AFRICA’S PUBLIC SECTOR STRIKE
From Patrick Bond (via Rich Gibson and The Rouge Forum):
August 22, 2010 — The two major civil service unions on strike against the South African government have vowed to intensify pressure in coming days, in a struggle pitting more than a million members of the middle and lower ranks of society against a confident government leadership fresh from hosting the World Cup.
Along with many smaller public sector unions, educators from the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and nurses from the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) continued picketing schools, clinics and hospitals, leading to widespread shutdowns starting on August 18. Skeleton teams of doctors and military personnel were compelled to send non-emergency cases home.
In several confrontations with police at town centres, clinics and schools late last week, workers were shot with rubber bullets and water cannon. On August 21, the courts enjoined workers to return to jobs considered “emergency services”. In dozens of hospitals and clinics, military health workers took over.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma threatened mass sackings and attacked labour movement activists who successfully disrupted health and education facilities: “Even during the campaigns against the apartheid government we did not prevent nurses from going to work”, the leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) stated. The South African Communist Party (SACP) issued a statement defending the strikers but requested the labour movement and ANC desist from “flinging irritable insults at each other, while the private sector and anti-worker elements sit back and laugh”.
Full article at http://links.org.au/node/1852
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