July 16, 2015 / 12:51 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-S.African mobile operator MTN agrees deal to end two-month strike

* Agrees guaranteed bonus payments

* Yet to reach deal on monthly wages (Adds confirmation, detail)

By Nqobile Dludla

JOHANNESBURG, July 16 (Reuters) - South African mobile operator MTN Group and union leaders reached a deal over bonuses on Thursday, ending a two-month strike that disrupted the supply of some new mobile phones in its home market.

About 2,000 workers led by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) downed tools in May at Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator, demanding an 8 percent pay rise and 16 percent bonus payment.

The CWU said it had agreed to an 8 percent bonus payment this year and 12 percent next year. Both payments are guaranteed and not related to the performance of the company.

“Members are expected to go back to work within two days after the signing of the agreement,” CWU General Secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said.

The two parties failed to reach a deal on monthly wages, but the CWU has said it would accept MTN’s 8 percent offer if performance conditions are removed.

MTN, along with its rivals in Africa’s most advanced economy, is trying to contain costs in the face of tough competition that has hit profit margins.

The company, which reported a 9 percent increase in full-year profit in March, employs about 6,500 people in its home market, where it trails rival Vodacom by subscriber numbers.

The end of the strike follows the appointment of Mteto Nyati as chief executive of the South African business after the resignation of Ahmad Farroukh last week. (Editing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and David Goodman)

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