22 Aug 2010

Injunction against strike obtained by govt

8:45 am on 22 August 2010

The South African government has been granted an injunction prohibiting union members in essential services from continuing a national strike.

More than one million civil servants began an indefinite strike on Wednesday. They want higher pay.

The government says the definition of essential services includes hospitals and prisons.

On Friday, the minister of health said striking workers who interrupted vital medical care were guilty of murder.

The BBC reports Saturday's injunction also prevents nurses and teachers from intimidating others who refuse to participate in the strike.

The unions want a pay rise of 8.6%. The government says it cannot afford wage increases that amount to twice the rate of inflation. Its offer is 7%.