SABC unions protest against loom­ing job losses

Broad­caster la­bels lunch hour ac­tion un­pro­tected

Sowetan - - News - By Isaac Mahlangu

SABC unions are jointly wag­ing war against the loom­ing re­trench­ment of more than 2 000 em­ploy­ees, ahead of next week’s meet­ing with man­age­ment.

The Broad­cast­ing Elec­tronic Me­dia and Al­lied Work­ers Union (Be­mawu) and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Work­ers Union (CWU) have asked their mem­bers to avail them­selves for lunch-time demon­stra­tions to­day and to op­pose the re­trench­ments.

The protest co­in­cides with the start of a process at the SABC that will see 981 per­ma­nent em­ploy­ees and 1 200 free­lancers los­ing their jobs due to the pub­lic broad­caster be­ing tech­ni­cally in­sol­vent, as it is un­able to meet its monthly fi­nan­cial obli­ga­tions.

SABC spokesper­son Neo Momodu said to­day’s lunch-hour protests were not a le­gal and pro­tected protest ac­tion.

“It must also be noted that this ac­tion may fore­stall the sec­tion 189 con­sul­ta­tion process sched­uled for the 13th of Novem­ber 2018, where par­ties will seek to jointly find so­lu­tions,” she said.

Momodu said the SABC had in­formed the unions “about the ac­tion not be­ing in com­pli­ance with the law and thus be­ing un­pro­tected and there­fore il­le­gal”.

Be­mawu’s Hannes du Buis­son told Sowe­tan that the lunch-time protest will in­clude a han­dover of a me­moran­dum to the SABC man­age­ment.

“It would be a peace­ful lunch-time demon­stra­tion where we will be mak­ing cer­tain de­mands,” Du Buis­son said.

He said work­ers be­lieved that the re­trench­ments were avoid­able and that the SABC could still im­prove its rev­enue to res­cue it­self.

“The SABC doesn’t have its ducks in a row. Man­age­ment is not clued up about what’s hap­pen­ing in the busi­ness ... SABC is a fi­asco right now,” he said.

They felt that the re­trench­ments were not well thought through and were “an emo­tional re­ac­tion to the sit­u­a­tion”.

The SABC wants to dras­ti­cally re­duce its em­ployee costs, which amounted to R3.1bn last year while rev­enue dropped dra­mat­i­cally. It has in­di­cated that to­tal rev­enue recorded for the 2017/2018 fi­nan­cial year amounted to R6.6bn.

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