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South Africa Increases Offer to Public Service Union

Thousands of public servants march to Parliament in Cape Town during their one-day strike to press for better salaries, 10 Aug 2010

The South African government has increased its offer to more than one million public service workers who are threatening to strike.

Following negotiations with union representatives Thursday, the government increased its monthly housing allowance offer to $95 from about $87. But the government did not change its pay raise offer of 7 percent.

The unions are demanding a pay raise of 8.6 percent, more than twice the rate of inflation, in addition to a higher housing allowance.

On Tuesday, civil service workers staged a one-day strike and held marches in Cape Town and Pretoria.

Officials say the strike affected schools and public offices, although essential services such as police and hospitals ran on reduced staffing.

Three years ago, public workers staged a crippling strike that shut down many schools and forced some hospitals to operate with minimal staff for several weeks.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.