Cosatu warns of ’catastrophe’ if strike continues

Cosatu President S’dumo Dlamini warned of a "catastrophe" if government does not accede to their demands...

Members of the Public Servants' Association (PSA) protest in Pretoria. Picture: Imraan Karolia/Eyewitness News

Cosatu President S’dumo Dlamini warned of a "catastrophe" if government does not accede to their demands by Thursday.

He was speaking at the Union Buildings on Thursday as thousands of people marched through the <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Pretoria city centre to the government site.

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 issued a stern warning to government on the steps of the Union buildings.

He issued an ultimatum and threatened that if the country wanted to remain stable, its leaders must meet the workers’ demands.

Public Service Minister Richard Baloyi said he was considering their memorandum.

Meanwhile, the National Health Department said there were varying levels of disruptions at hospitals across the country due to the strike.

In <state w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Gauteng, there were limited effects of the strike at hospitals as mostly porters, cleaners and laundry staff participated in the mass action.

However, the DA said there had been intimidation at Chris Hani Baragwanath in <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Soweto, while police were called in to deal with buses that entered the premises.

Nurses in the Tshwane region said they did not feel guilty about taking to the streets.

The Health Department said hospitals in <place w:st="on">Limpopo were the hardest hit.