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South African Strikers to Consider New Government Offer

Striking South African public service workers are considering a new wage offer from the government aimed at ending a 14-day-old strike.

Officials from the main labor federation, COSATU, and other unions say their members will discuss the proposal over the next couple of days. They say a decision on the offer could come Wednesday.

The strike by some 1.3 million civil servants has shut down schools and led to army medics taking over public hospitals.

The government's latest offer calls for a 7.5 percent pay increase, up from the earlier offer of 7 percent. The government also raised its monthly housing allowance offer from $96 to $109.

The public service unions have demanded an pay increase of 8.6 percent and a higher housing allowance.

The newest government offer comes after South African President Jacob Zuma ordered government ministers to resolve the strike in the interest of the country.

A government spokesman says the president is particularly concerned about the strike's impact on the health and education sectors.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.