Vodacom, union in agreement

Getrude Makhafola and Sapa

Getrude Makhafola and Sapa

Cellphone operator Vodacom and the Communications Worker's Union reached a settlement yesterday, ending the month-old strike.

The workers had downed tools on July 2 for the no-work, no-pay strike.

The strike stemmed from the union's dissatisfaction at not being recognised by Vodacom.

In support of the strike, the SA Transport and Allied Workers Union had earlier threatened to have their members cancel their cellphone contracts with Vodacom if the company did not recognise CWU.

The country's largest cellphone operator later lodged an interdict against CWU, preventing striking workers from interfering or obstructing access to the Midrand headquarters.

According to the agreement reached yesterday, the current number of union membership, which is less than 15 percent, has been recognised by the parties.

The union will be allowed to have two representatives when it reaches a 30 percent membership.

CWU will then be able to enjoy full collective bargaining rights in terms of the Labour Relations Act.

CWU spokesman Mfanafuthi Sithebe, pictured, confirmed that the strike was over.

"I have not been briefed yet, but I can confirm that a settlement was reached," he said.

As of 30 June Vodacom had a total of 4202 permanent employees.

The workers are expected back at work next week.

Under the agreement reached yesterday, Vodacom spokesman Dot Field confirmed that striking workers locked out of Vodacom premises would be allowed back.

Field said the parties had agreed that at present less than 15 percent of Vodacom employees belonged to the CWU.

Only employees whose union dues were paid "as a deduction from the Vodacom payroll" would be counted as union members.