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South African government ups offer to striking workers

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Public sector workers have been on strike for nearly two weeks
  • The government has increased its offer after previously saying it could not afford to up wages
  • Nurses and hospital staff are among thousands of workers striking over pay levels

(CNN) -- The South African government has increased its wage and housing offers to striking workers, a union spokesman said.

The South African government upped its offer to a 7.5-percent wage increase and an 800-rand housing allowance.

The unions were demanding an 8 percent wage increase and a 1,000-rand housing allowance.

Congress of South African Trade Unions spokesman Patrick Craven told CNN that he welcomes that the government has moved on the issue, but it is now up to the union's members to decide. He expects the process to begin Tuesday.

Video: Strike strains government
Video: Pretoria ups offer to strikers
Video: Strike paralyzes South Africa
Video: South Africa on strike
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A massive strike has been crippling the country for nearly two weeks.

The government had previously said that with a million jobs lost from the economy in the past year, it cannot afford to raise employee wages.

Nurses and hospital staff are among thousands of public sector workers striking, and the lack of health care professionals on the job being is blamed for putting lives at risks.