Overworked SABC editors go to CCMA
Four “overworked” SABC assignment editors have taken their bosses to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), demanding senior positions and better benefits equal to the workload they were forced to take on since the broadcaster launched its 24-hour news channel about two years ago.
City Press has learnt that the four editors in the Joburg office are under immense pressure and unhappy about their increasing workload as a result of “incompetence” in some of the other regions.
Work is said to be piling up on them while they get paid less than other colleagues who work in the same positions around the country.
“They are acting as de facto central desk editors,” said an insider.
The four are Crosby Amos, Clive Govender, Faith Daniels and Ronel van Zyl.
Their attempts to negotiate a settlement with the public broadcaster were rejected this week.
According to three insiders, their fight, which could force the SABC to create new positions of national assignment editors, could result in head of news Jimi Matthews being subpoenaed by the CCMA when the case gets under way next month.
The group asked for better pay but was told there were budgetary constraints. The four want backpay for additional duties performed from the day they took on their new unofficial roles. For some, this dates back to 2011.
“They were told to take over because management realised the regional editors could not do the work,” said an insider.
President of the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers’ Union Hannes du Buisson said the dispute was not based on getting positions, but the group was performing and deserved to be rewarded accordingly.
He said the SABC had expressed concern about being forced to change its organisational structure to accommodate the group’s request.
All the parties spent Wednesday debating whether the CCMA had jurisdiction over the matter or not.
The SABC argued that the labour court had the authority to mediate in the matter, but this was rejected.
Du Buisson said this was the first case of its kind and could set a precedent for other workers who were short-changed by their employers while they battled with piles of work they were not contracted to do.
“You can’t employ people in roles and, when they complain [about doing extra work], you say it’s messing up the organisational structure and there will be salary anomalies.
“If that is your argument, then get people in regions to do what they are supposed to do,” said Du Buisson.
“They have more responsibility than their counterparts in other regions.
“They are doing more senior work and must get a senior salary.”
He said he was confident of victory but that, in the meantime, he hoped his members would not be victimised for “such a simple matter”.
“The CCMA is there to deal with these things. We are confident we are right. If you perform a role, then you must be recognised,” he said.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago could not be reached for comment.