SABC confirms receipt of Bemawu’s letter of demand

The SABC has confirmed that it received a letter from the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) demanding a response by midday on Saturday over the union’s calls for the SABC to return to talks over possible retrenchments.

Bemawuhas threatened it will approach the Labour Court if the SABC refuses to continue talks. Amongst others, the union demands that the SABC confirm in writing that it will return to the consultative process with immediate effect and that no members affiliated to Bemawu will dismissed.

The SABC said in its June section 189 notice that as many as 600 full time workers could be retrenched.

The Group Executive for News and Current Affairs at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Phathiswa Magopeni has said the looming retrenchments at the public broadcaster cannot be avoided as the wage bill has to be reduced.

This month, 13 employees who are believed to have been irregularly appointed were dismissed.  The public broadcaster says they were appointed without following proper processes when former Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, was at the helm of the organisation.

The SABC is currently at loggerheads with workers’ representatives over its plans to retrench around 600 permanent staff members.  The broadcaster says according to the Labour Relations Act, it is now at liberty to unilaterally implement the contemplated retrenchments after failed talks facilitated by the CCMA.

The SABC said in the June notice to staff that it could also terminate the contracts of over 1000 freelancers. In previous reports, unions have claimed that at least 60% of workers at the public broadcaster are freelancers. The group – however – will have no representation in the section 189 process