Unions fight job losses at the SABC

Unions fight job losses at the SABC.
Unions fight job losses at the SABC.

The SABC has been warned to call off its intended retrenchments of more than 2000 employees or face a total shutdown.

This warning on Friday came from labour unions representing some of the employees at the public broadcaster who submitted a memorandum of their demands to the SABC.

Led by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and supported by Cosatu and the Young Communist Party, workers marched outside the SABC head offices in Auckland Park, Joburg.

The public broadcaster was given until November 16 to respond to the workers' demands or face the music.

The cash-strapped SABC had in October served 2200 of its employees, including freelancers, with retrenchment notices, arguing that the decision would lead to cost savings of up to R400m per annum.

CWU general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said, "There were no consultation meetings held with labour and workers in general," before the mass retrenchment decision.

He said on October 10, the SABC wrote a letter and proposed a meeting for October 12. However, the meeting was set aside because the public broadcaster failed to produce all the necessary and mandatory information.

Tshabalala said both parties agreed during the meeting that should there be a need from management's side to proceed with the consultation process then it must be done together with the CCMA.

The union has lambasted the SABC for gambling with people's lives and putting profits ahead of people.

"Since the appointment of the SABC executive managers, they have demonstrated that they lack capacity to head such a public broadcaster, [whose] primary mandate is not centred on profit but the citizens .

"The SABC management lost an opportunity to avoid the disastrous conclusion of retrenching almost 2100 workers, when they designed their self-destructive turnaround strategy," it said.

Other demands include the reduction of perks of board members and executive managers.

SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu said: "The SABC remains committed to engaging with the unions, in a meeting scheduled for Tuesday November 13 2018, under facilitation of the CCMA."

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