Hundreds of thousands of  municipal workers from all over South Africa are expected to go on strike today.

They are demanding an 18 % increase in their salaries and are objecting to a 6 % increase that was agreed upon as part of a 3 year deal in 2009.

Essential servies like garbage collection will be affected

The striking workers are from the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union.

The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) says the 18 % increase demanded by workers would have to be met by an increase in rates and taxes, something most municipalities were unable to do.

This would have a ripples effect on the economy and would hit everyone hard, including the striking workers.

Alternatively, basic municipal services would have to be scaled down, leading to possible job losses and increased protests about poor service delivery.

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The striking workers would probably settle for a 10 % increase, according to one of the trade unions.

Kouga Municipality is already battling to get to grips with a burgeoning salary bill and is, in effect, a provider of jobs and not services when one looks at where the biggest slice of the budget is being spent.

The South African Police will be monitoring the striking workers country wide and ill discipline will not be tolerated. Previous Samwu strikes have wreaked havoc across the country, with workers tipping over rubbish bins, trashing business centres and intimidating non strikers.

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