Telkom, unions find common ground

Kea' Modimoeng

Kea' Modimoeng

Telkom and the two trade unions representing its workers finally reached agreement on Friday, successfully staving off more strike action this week.

Negotiations between the fixed line operator, the Communications Workers Union (CWU) and the South African Communications Union (SACU) ended with a signed agreement of 11,5percent wage increase backdated to April 2008 and another 0,5percent increase effective from October 1.

"An agreement was formally concluded between Telkom, CWU and SACU," said Meshack Dlamini, executive director for employee relations at Telkom.

Tertia Smit, senior analyst of BMI-TechKnowledge, said the three-day strike by Telkom workers last week equated to a quarter of a month's worth of production lost.

She said: "Practically such strike actions could cause a backlog in installations and a general delay in repairs."

Gallant Roberts, CWU's general secretary, said: "The company further agreed that this 11,5percent will be extended to all monetary values including medical aid and stand-by allowances.

"But, as the unions we are not necessarily happy because we initially wanted an 11,6percent increase, but we will engage the company again towards the end of the year to discuss salary increases."

Solidarity on the other hand, last month accepted an average wage increase of 10,5percent for its 4000 members at Telkom.