SABC fails in court bid to stop strike

THE labour court has ruled against the SABC's attempts to stop its workers from striking.

The ruling, which was made yesterday, follows last month's Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration award giving the unions permission to strike after they deadlocked with SABC management in negotiations over salaries.

The unions are accusing the broadcaster of reneging on a wage agreement signed last year.

The unions are demanding a 12,2percent salary increase, while the cash-strapped SABC says it can afford only 8,5percent.

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

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said a "no-work no-pay" principle would apply.

"If they do not come to work they will not get paid. We have plans in place if the strike goes ahead.

"We will ensure that the public continues to get programmes on air. Unions will have to give us a 48-hour notice."

Hannes du Buisson, president of the Broadcast, Electronic Media and Allied Workers Union, said: "We are happy with the ruling. We will have a meeting with members tomorrow, and if the majority feel they want to go on strike we will give the SABC notice.

"This has been going on for too long and it kills the morale of workers. It has to end.

"There is no guarantee, though, that employees will get increases soon."