Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • Europe launches navigation satellites to rival GPS

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Iraqi Sunnis quit govt talks after mosque massacre

    Read more

  • US demands Russia withdraw aid convoy from Ukraine

    Read more

  • Rights group sues US government over ‘deportation mill’

    Read more

  • Colombian army and FARC rebels begin work on ceasefire

    Read more

  • US National Guard starts to pull out of embattled Missouri town

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • Fed Chair says US job market still hampered by Great Recession

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Africa

Military helps hospitals run during general strike

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-24

South Africa has deployed military teams to some hospitals to keep emergency health services open as a nationwide strike of public workers enters its sixth day.

AFP - South Africa deployed soldiers to 37 hospitals Monday to help keep basic health services running, as a nationwide strike by more than one million public workers entered its sixth day.

The government won a court order at the weekend barring essential workers like nurses from joining the strike, which began Wednesday after wage talks with the unions broke down.

Two groups of strikers in Durban defied the order, with workers blocking an entrance at King Edward Hospital and police firing rubber bullets to clear the entrance to Addington Hospital, according to the Sapa news agency.

Police at Johannesburg hospitals were guarding entrances during peaceful protests, while in Cape Town health officials said only a handful of hospital workers were off the job.

The defence ministry said military teams were called in to aid doctors and replace striking support staff in cleaning bed linen and providing meals at 37 hospitals.

"Depending on the request, a medical team may consist of doctors, nurses and emergency health care practitioners," defence spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini said in a statement.

"The South African Military Health Service is also deploying personnel to assist with the cleaning of the hospitals," he added.

Health and education officials scrambled to fill the gaps left by striking workers, calling for volunteers to work in hospitals and help students make up lost classroom time ahead of their October exams.

In northern Mpumalanga province, the education department arranged for lessons to be broadcast on the radio and sample test questions to be circulated in local newspapers.

Teachers have been the most vocal strikers, but schools began a two-week holiday on Monday.

The country's largest teachers' union said it planned to contest the court ordering "essential services" employees back to work, saying it was overly broad.

"We have resolved that we are not going to retreat from continuing with our demonstrations until our demands are met," the South African Democratic Teachers' Union said in a statement.

"Our strike is legal and we will continue to intensify our actions."

Rowdy strikes are annual events in South Africa, where contracts come up for renewal at mid-year.

This year public workers postponed their strike threat until after the World Cup, a gesture that did little to close the gap with the government over wages.

Unions are demanding an 8.6-percent wage increase and a 1,000-rand (137-dollar, 108-euro) housing allowance. The government has moved to unilaterally implement a seven percent raise and a 700-rand housing allowance.

"Government appeals to the public sector unions to sign the offer without delay and further appeals to all public servants who are on strike to return to their posts," the cabinet said in a statement Monday.

The government said it was "extremely concerned about the violence and intimidation that continues to characterise the strike in parts of the country".

The cabinet says meeting the unions' wage demands would require cuts in other services, amid fierce public pressure for greater access to housing, water and electricity.

Inflation is running at 4.2 percent in South Africa, but unions argue that big increases are needed to close the gap between rich and poor, in one of the world's least equal societies.

Unions are politically powerful and a key ally of President Jacob Zuma's ruling African National Congress, but tensions have erupted over both wages and general economic policy.

Anger over the wage offer is fuelled in part by what workers see as a flashy display of spending by senior government officials on expensive cars and luxury hotels.

Date created : 2010-08-24

  • SOUTH AFRICA

    Police fire rubber bullets at civil servants on strike

    Read more

  • SOUTH AFRICA

    More than 1 million govt employees strike for more pay

    Read more

COMMENT(S)