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South African Government Workers Strike 2nd Day

A nationwide strike by thousands of South African government workers entered a second day Tuesday.

Unions representing more than 150,000 local municipal employees, including bus drivers and garbage collectors, are demanding a 15 percent wage increase amid annual inflation running at eight percent.

Employers are offering an increase of 13 percent. Workers are expected to continue the strike until unions make a decision on the offer.

Thousands of strikers attended a march in Johannesburg Tuesday where union leaders have appealed for calm after demonstrations a day earlier turned chaotic. More than 30 strikers were arrested Monday after demonstrators vandalized property, turned over garbage bins and harassed non-protesting workers.

The strike follows days of violent protests by residents of impoverished townships who have complained about poor public services from local government, which in most parts of the country is dominated by the ruling African National Congress.

On Tuesday, police fired rubber bullets to disperse local residents after they blocked a road in a Johannesburg suburb.

Meanwhile Tuesday, South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers agreed to a pay deal with gold and coal producers, averting a strike in the mining sector.

Also, the South African Press Association (SAPA) reports that workers at the South African Broadcasting Corporation and the communications giant, Telkom, will hold a two-day strike over salary increases beginning Wednesday.

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