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Africa

Not again - another strike in South Africa

Our correspondent says schoolchildren and patients are bearing the brunt of country's ongoing industrial action.

Last modified: 18 Aug 2010 17:24
Photo by EPA

Here we go again - another protest in South Africa.

It's the same grievances time and time again - workers want a pay increase, their government says it does not have the money to give them what they want.

Irate public sector workers try to force government into giving in by shutting down government departments and bringing the country to a standstill.

Frankly it's getting tedious.

This time more than one million public sector workers have downed tools in what they are calling an indefinite strike.

So we could be stuck with this one for a while.

That means hospitals, schools and government departments all over the country won't function properly until some kind of agreement is reached.

So who is being unreasonable here - the government by refusing to increase salaries or the workers who don't understand the country simply does not have the budget to pay them more (well that's the line of politicians)?

It's the people caught in the crossfire of this strike I feel sorry for.

School children are about to write end of year exams. Many are just milling outside the school gates wondering when their teachers are going to return to the classrooms.

What about patients in hospitals? Some medical centres are now impossible to enter.

The gates and entrances have been barricaded by government workers who want to prove a point to their employers.

And the only way they know how is to stop those who want to attend to sick patients from doing so.

Imagine someone you care about dies because someone feels a few dollars in their pocket is more important than saving someone's life.

I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to feel sorry for anyone who says they don't care if students fail their exams, or worse, that they don't care if people die in the hospitals so long as they get their money.

Surely there has to be another way to push for what you want without dragging the entire country down with you?