South African Government, Unions Fail to Reach Agreement on Pay

South Africa’s public service unions and the government failed to reach agreement in pay talks, increasing the risk of a strike.

“Our analysis is very simple: The government want a strike so they can unilaterally implement the offer that is on the table and that won’t be accepted,” Mugwena Maluleke, general secretary for the South African Democratic Teachers Union, said by phone from Johannesburg on Sunday. “An amicable solution is the best for everyone, including the people of South Africa who make use of public services. A strike must be the last resort.”

Labor unions representing 1.3 million public-service employees are demanding a 10 percent pay increase this year, while the government has offered half that, setting the stage for possible strikes. The inflation rate was 3.9 percent in February.

Brent Simons, a spokesman for the Department of Public Service and Administration, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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