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S. Africa Signs Agreement With Striking Workers

The South African Municipal Workers Union has signed an agreement that ended a week-long nationwide strike.

The agreement, signed late Friday, will give the workers a 13-percent pay raise, among other concessions. They had been demanding a 15-percent raise, while annual inflation ran at eight percent.

The ruling African National Congress Party issued a statement welcoming the settlement and urging all parties involved to focus and recommit themselves to accelerate service delivery that was deeply hampered during the work stoppage.

Earlier in the week, thousands of workers in unions that include bus drivers and garbage collectors began nationwide protests. Demonstrators in some cities knocked over garbage bins as they marched to air their grievances.

The strikes were the latest stand-off between the unions and President Jacob Zuma, less than three months after he was elected with their strong support.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.