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South Africa Increases Wage Offer to Avert Strike

Public Service Minister Richard Baloyi speaks during a news conference at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, 05 Aug 2010

South Africa has offered a higher wage increase to public service workers in an effort to avert a strike by some 900,000 members of the civil service.

The public services ministry announced Thursday it has offered to raise salaries by 7 percent. The previous offer was 6.5 percent, but unions are demanding an 8.6 percent raise.

The ministry said its offer of about $86 (630 rand) for a housing allowance had not changed. Unions have asked for nearly $140 (1,000 rand).

One union, the 210,000 member Public Servants Association, had threatened to begin its strike Thursday. The other workers have threatened to walk off their jobs next week.

Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi has called for any strikes to be delayed until he is able to meet with union leaders Thursday.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.