File picture: Denis Farrell

Johannesburg - A wage strike by Sentech employees affiliated to the Communication Workers Union ended on Wednesday, the company said.

“The company is pleased to announce that the parties concluded an agreement on August 13, 2014. This brings an end to the strike and, as a result, the company will operate at full capacity effective August 14,” Sentech said in a statement.

In terms of the agreement, employees will receive an 8-percent increase on basic salary for employees at lower grades, and a 7.5-percent increase for employees at higher grades.

The worker will receive a housing allowance of R1 450 a month.

“In addition, a bonus will be paid out to all the members of the bargaining unit on the basis of the company’s performance during the 2013/2014 financial year,” the company said.

Regarding the issue of the 13th cheque, the parties agreed on a process for an enabling facility to matters related to the definition, form, structure and funding model.

“The parties have agreed that there will be no industrial action in relation to the 13th cheque matter until at least the end of the 2015/2016 financial year.”

“This provides sufficient time for the two parties to deal with the matter.”

Union members wanted a 10-percent wage increase for the lowest-paid workers, nine percent for middle-income earners, and seven percent for the highest-paid staff.

They wanted a guaranteed 13th cheque in the current financial year, a housing allowance of R1 450 a month, and a moratorium on retrenchments during the wage agreement period.

On August 1, Sentech spokesman Sithembele Senti said the CWU's demands were unaffordable and would negatively affect the business's sustainability.

The CWU's acting general secretary Thabo Mogalane said at the time that the demand for a 13th cheque was not unreasonable because management's counter-offer of a once-off 10 percent gratuity would cost more than the bonus cheque.

He said workers made up 53 percent of the company's wage bill, and management, with 132 people, 47 percent.

Sentech said there were no specific disruptions to its normal services as a result of the two-week-long strike. - Sapa