sadtu.jpg  SADTU Demonstration The South African government obtained a court injunction this weekend against the over a million public sector workers who have been on strike since Wednesday The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) is on strike along with colleagues in hospitals, prisons and the civil service. The less militant NAPTOSA teachers' union is also set to join the strike. The unions are accusing the government of attempting to intimidate the strikers and thousands of teachers and other workers are on the streets carrying banners and wearing T shirts saying 'no surrender! no retreat!' If anything reports suggest that the strike is intensifying. Meanwhile the government is using the military in hospitals. SADTU reports that its members were fired on with rubber bullets by police in Johannesburg - with six injured - two with head wounds. SADTU issued the following statement: "Our members have a democratic right to engage in a march or any form of demonstration. The action by Metro Police was extremely provocative and has no room in the new democratic South Africa. The right to engage in a march is enshrined in the country’s constitution. Such action by police won’t deter us from continuing to engage in pickets and marches until our demands are met." The government says it cannot afford to meet the public servants' demands because of lack of funds and its commitment to help the poorest in society. However that commitment has been slow in being fulfilled since the ending of apartheid with the gap between rich and poor wider than ever and millions still living in shanty towns for example. It is precisely poorly paid public service workers like teachers and nurses who are doing their best to alleviate the suffering and inequality in South Africa. A government finance expert told the UN website www.irinnews.org  ""It's not only about better pay, but also pressuring the state for redistribution of wealth to reduce inequality. Politicians have been 'over-promising' and most definitely 'under-delivering'," and although the government had taken the responsibility to effect social change, it has "bitten off too much". This dimension of the strike is also made clear in SADTU statements (see previous posts) Please contact mary@teachersolidarity if you would like a first hand report of the strike posted on this site. Also go to www.sadtu.org.za for more information from SADTU.