SABC faces blackouts as strike okayed

THE cash-strapped SABC now faces blackouts after its employees received permission yesterday to strike.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration gave the workers' unions permission to strike after they failed to agree with SABC management in negotiations over salaries.

The unions want an increase of 12,2percent, but the public broadcaster says it can afford only 8,5percent.

"If members still feel the need to go ahead with the strike we will send a letter of notice to the SABC," said Hannes du Buisson, president of the Broadcast, Electronic Media and Allied Workers Union.

The protected strike means that the SABC cannot dismiss workers, but it will adopt a policy of "no work, no pay".

The broadcaster is R800million in debt and has asked the Treasury to guarantee a R2billion loan.

Independent producers have also threatened to pull their shows unless the SABC comes up soon with the R60million it owes them.