Cosatu accuses govt. of ’fiddling’ with inflation figures

Cosatu President S’dumo Dlamini on Tuesday accused unnamed people of fiddling with inflation...

Minister for the Public Service and Administration, Richard Baloyi outside Union Buildings. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

Cosatu President S’dumo Dlamini on Tuesday accused unnamed people of fiddling with inflation figures to cheat workers out of decent wage increases.

He has further warned of a "catastrophe" if government does not accede to their demands by Thursday.

Dlamini was speaking at the Union Buildings after thousands of people marched through <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Pretoria’s city centre.

Public servants, including teachers, downed tools as part of their mass action for better wages.

They are demanding an 8.6 percent wage hike while government is offering seven percent.

Dlamini told an estimated 15,000 public servants that they suspect inflation figures were being manipulated to benefit parliamentarians.

Dlamini issued a stern warning to government and gave an ultimatum that if their demands were not met by Thursday, Cosatu would embark on a crippling strike indefinitely.

Public Service Minister Richard Baloyi said he is considering the federation’s memorandum.

SCHOOLS HIT HARD

Meanwhile, schools were hardest hit by the strike with teachers among the thousands who marched.

<city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">One non-striking teacher in the area said she turned up for work because her pupils come first but she said the state needs to pay educators more.

She said she felt her salary was not good enough considering she had forty years’ teaching experience.

HEALTH WORKERS DEMAND BETTER TREATMENT

Health workers who took to the streets said it is about time government treats them as an essential service.

Mostly porters, cleaners and other general staff were part of the mass action, causing some disruption at hospitals and clinics in Gauteng.

Some of the nurses who marched in <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Pretoria said they are fighting for their rights.

“We are there for the community who use the service but when it comes to pay, the government doesn’t consider us at all,” one woman said.

Another nurse said, “We really have an uncaring government. We put them in office, they are earning fat salaries but they forget about us.”