JOHANNESBURG, S AFRCA - South African public workers have agreed not to strike during the World Cup, the government said, clearing a potential headache during the four-week tournament ahead of the kick-off Friday.
Public workers on Thursday declared a formal wage dispute with government, in a move toward strike action by unions representing 1.3 million teachers, doctors and civil servants.
Home affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said workers had agreed late Thursday not to strike until after the final on July 11.
"The agreement between labour unions and the government goes a long way in contributing to the creation of a positive climate for the hosting of a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup," she said.
"Indeed the signing of the agreement today, communicates a positive message that as a people and a country, we will stop at nothing to ensure the first African hosted FIFA 2010 World Cup is a roaring success in the interests of our people and most certainly the people of our continent, Africa," she added.
Unions have demanded an 11 percent wage increase, against government's offer of 6.5 percent, with efforts to split the difference deadlocked.
Contracts normally come up for renewal at mid-year in South Africa.
This year's negotiating season has seen the World Cup become a bargaining tool in several wage disputes, with labour and management both using the tournament to argue for reaching a settlement. --AFP
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