Johannesburg - The two and a half week strike in the fuel sector ended on Thursday with unions accepting an 8.5% increase across the board and 10% for the lowest level.The pay hike will be backdated to 1 July.This was confirmed on Wednesday afternoon by Nerine Khan, the director of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). "The parties in the Petroleum Sector - the National Petroleum Employers' Association (NPEA), the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers' Union( CEPPWAWU), the General Industries Workers' Union of SA (GIWUSA), the South African Chemical Workers Union (SACWU) and Solidarity - reached an agreement, which officially brings an end to the strike in the sector," Khan said.Khan said that all parties signed a settlement agreement, "in full and final settlement of substantive wages and terms and conditions of employment for the period 2011/12". Soon after the CCMA made its announcement, trade union Solidarity said that an agreement of 8.5% across the board and 10% on the lowest level had been secured. "Today's agreement creates a balance between the needs of the employees, the employers, the public and SA," said Dirk Hermann, deputy general secretary of Solidarity. "The agreement will also help to repair the broken trust between employers and employees, which hampered negotiations this year," he added. Herman said the wage agreement would be implemented retroactively from July 1 and is valid for a year. Many fuel pumps in both Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal ran dry during the strike which was also marred by violence and intimidation. The South African Petroleum Industry Association (Sapia) on Thursday confirmed that trade unions and petroleum companies had reached an agreement on wage negotiations. Sapia said that the deadlock in wage negotiations for employees working in the petroleum sector had been amicably resolved, with an agreement being reached on an 8.5% across the board increase. Avhapfani Tshifularo, executive director of Sapia, said employees had already started returning to work.