Soldiers threaten to join strike

2010-08-26 09:11

Johannesburg - Soldiers, who have been helping out at state hospitals during a crippling public service strike, threatened on Thursday to start staying away from work in a solidarity action.

"The problem is, if this problem is not solved, there's a possibility that we might be seen as scab labour," said SA National Defence Union (Sandu) spokesperson Jeff Dubazana.

"We are not going to allow our workers to be seen in that particular fashion. That is why we are planning action."

He said the union would announce on Friday if it would take part in a secondary strike.

Initially, he said Sandu members would "go on a march" or picket, but when asked if that meant they would not stay away from work, he replied: "It can be picketing for the whole day."

Dubazana said the government's "lack of leadership" was to blame for the situation.

"What the public servants are asking... it's very reasonable, what they should be asking for is 16%," he said.

The SA Security Force Union (Sasfu) made a similar statement.

Sasfu president Bhekinkosi Mvovo said the union's national executive leadership would meet on Sunday to discuss members joining the strike.

"Soldiers' social economic conditions are much worse than the teachers and nurses," Mvovo said.

"We are calling on our members not to act as scab labour during this period," he said.

Mvovo hoped the wage dispute between the government and public service unions would be resolved by the time the union meets on Sunday.

He acknowledged that a strike by soldiers would have a crippling  affect.

"It will be a big blow," Mvovo said.

A nation-wide public service strike started a week ago, causing school closures and severe disruption of state hospital services.

The SA National Defence Force has deployed about 2 400 soldiers to help out at hospitals.

The unions have demanded an 8.6% increase and a R1 000 housing allowance, while the government has offered 7% and R700, excluding a 1.5% pay progression.

  • Nasdaq7 - 2010-08-26 09:40

    HAHA the ANC has some problems. A revolution is at hand.

  • Duke - 2010-08-26 10:25

    Well done to the ANC - great labour laws you came up with! It's this type of madness that will slow the economy further.

  • koos du Preez - 2010-08-26 13:42

    The government spent billions on the dysfunctional SABC, Eskom, SAA and many munisipalities. The Travelgate goes unpunished as Motlante wrote of the mp's debt in this regard. Add all this to all the corruption that is covered and you understand why the government can not pay the civil servants a decent salary.

  • koosdupreez - 2010-08-26 13:57

    How does a nurse support her family if she is only taking home R1500.00 per month?

  • Devils' advocate - 2010-08-26 20:48

    Sekunjalo! It is time for positive change.The time of treating the masses like mushrooms are over!Viva change, viva!

  • lawler - 2010-08-26 21:00

    If you have the opportunity, leave now while you still have a chance. As much as we want to deny it, South Africa will soon be joining the rest of Africa and rely on international handouts to survive. Sad very sad!

  • karabo - 2010-08-27 00:28

    its hurting to see the govt making their people fools, it has divided the civil servants and wage war on them, its high time that on the next wage negotiation all civil servants unions to meet and face the monster[govt] in unity, this division is crippling the people we are sick and tired of the govt wanting people to feel guilty whereas the play with peoples lives

  • Nico - 2010-08-27 15:15

    I hope you're proud of the government you vote into power. You got what you asked for...

  • Julian - 2010-08-30 16:39

    Hahaha. This is such a sick joke. One strike leads to the next whilst government and all their their corrupt cronies continue to live a champaign lifestyle whilst the masses sit in poverty. Eish man...where have all the Mandela's gone? So hard not to be negative about SA with all the bullsh*t happening in our country...

  • Robert Kay - 2010-08-30 17:29

    Sure - let everybody join the strike. Not that it will make much of a difference, because very few civil servants work anyway. Soldiers sit on THEIR butts all day, so by all means - go and picket. Do these half brains realise it is going to take them some 3.5 years to make up the money they have lost so far in wages if the get what they're asking for? And if a nurse onlt takes home R1500 a month, what deductions are made from her salary? Well, I agree with Nico. The people got what they wanted.

  • Mpho - 2010-08-31 04:48

    Public servants are striking for good but essential services must not be disturbed. It becomes blood money when they disrupt hospitals to offer services to the needy,fellow citizens must try to behave well as human beings. If soldiers join the public servants strike it will be a call for enemies of the state to come and get a better chance to attack.The government made a foolish decition by allowing soldies to have a union. No wonder,the government is good when it comes to adopting useless bills of laws.

  • Trailblazer - 2010-09-02 15:36

    One thing for sure is that majority of black people in this country who voted for the ANC will not be casting their ballot come next elections.

  • amsa - 2010-09-06 11:00

    There's always two sites of the story. people must learn to lesson to both sites in order to make good judgment.Don't just see and conclude without digging in more.

  • Duduza - 2010-09-06 11:04 about time you,pay teachers what kind of Gov are u?You are who u are because of a teacher u know to write and b'cause of them is time to pay you bills.

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