Public Workers in Botswana Suspend Strike

Posted June 12th, 2011 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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Union leaders in Botswana say public workers have suspended an eight-week strike and will return to work on Monday.

Workers have not reached an agreement with the government but officials from the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions say they want to regroup and re-strategize.

More than 90,000 public workers walked off the job April 18, demanding a 16 percent pay increase. The government said it could not afford raises that large.

The unions recently agreed to a much smaller raise of three percent. But labor leaders insist the government reinstate about 3,000 essential workers who were fired after they defied a court order to return to work.

The government has agreed only to allow those workers to reapply for their jobs.

The unions say the strike may resume at a future date.

Botswana, a nation of 1.9 million, saw its economy shrink by 4.9 percent in 2009. But 7.2-percent growth was recorded in 2010.

Workers complain salaries have not kept up with inflation.

Schools and most public offices had been reduced to skeleton staffs since the strike began in April.