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Bemawu says SABC salary-increase war not yet over

SABC employees picketing outside SABC Building in Auckland Park for salary increase.
SABC employees picketing outside SABC Building in Auckland Park for salary increase.
Image: SIMPHIWE NKWALI/ Sunday Times

After a failed attempt to force the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to increase workers’ salaries‚ media union Bemawu has re-lodged a dispute with the public broadcaster.

 On Monday‚ Broadcasting‚ Electronic‚ Media and Allied Workers Union spokesperson Hannes du Buisson said they have instituted a fresh salary dispute with the state entity‚ demanding a 10% salary increase.

"We filed a new dispute on Friday‚ and it has been acknowledged by the SABC. We are now waiting for them to schedule a dispute-resolution meeting‚ and we believe if they are serious in settling this dispute‚ they would do it in that particular meeting. If not‚ then of course the dispute will automatically proceed to the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration) again‚ but this time around it will be under our name‚" said du Buisson.

His remarks follow last week’s failed attempt to get the SABC to increase salaries‚ after meetings between the public broadcaster’s executives and shop stewards from both Bemawu and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) led workers to abandon demonstrations.

CWU called off the work stoppage on Thursday‚ citing logistical issues. A day later‚ Bemawu filed a new dispute‚ as their members were still unhappy after the meeting‚ in which the state broadcaster offered salary increases to come into effect only in the next financial year – an offer that Bemawu members totally rejected.

"If this issue is not resolved‚ we will issue a strike notice again‚ after we receive a fresh mandate from our members. Our members are adamant that we should proceed with the dispute‚ and they are adamant that they will strike again‚ if the SABC is not going to resolve this issue‚" declared du Buisson.

Bemawu represents about 1‚800 members‚ and CWU has about 1‚500.

SABC's Acting Group Chief Executive Officer Nomsa Philiso confirmed to TimesLIVE that Bemawu has lodged a new dispute.

"We didn't reach any agreement (last week)… and what happened is that they withdrew their notice (called off the strike). But what has subsequently happened‚ is that they've now gone back to follow the actual correct procedure‚ and they have sent us a letter of the declaration of a dispute‚ so we are now on step one‚ where we should have been in the first place‚" said Philiso.

She said the dispute-resolution meeting is not likely to take place this week‚ as the SABC's head of legal services‚ Sizwe Vilakazi‚ was shot dead on Saturday at his family’s bottle store. The public broadcaster has to make preparations for the memorial service and funeral.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said employees who had not reported for duty will not be paid‚ in accordance with the "no work‚ no pay" principle.

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