Bemawu hopeful of further engagements with the SABC on retrenchments

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Trade union, Bemawu, says it hopes there will be further engagements with the SABC on its restructuring plans. It was reacting to the public broadcaster’s statement that it was considering different alternatives to minimise the impact of its planned retrenchments on employees.

The SABC had given stakeholders until last Friday to make submissions on its restructuring plans.

SABC COO, Ian Plaatjies says, “What we’re busy with now is affording stakeholders an opportunity to present us with alternatives or recommended criteria. So in terms of the proposed structure, it will change based on the inputs that we received from stakeholders and recommendations.”

“From a managing point of view, we are doing everything in our power to make sure that we look at alternatives to minimise the impact on employees,” Plaatjies explains.

Last week, Bemawu temporarily suspended its urgent application to the Labour Court over the plans that will affect around 600 permanent staff and over a 1 000 freelancers.

Bemawu president, Hannes du Buisson says the undertaking resulted in the urgent application being removed off the urgent court roll.

“We do now know what the SABC’s further plans are, there is an expectation from our side that we will meet with the SABC, that we’ll continue the consultation process, as an undertaking was made last week, which resulted in our urgent application being removed off the urgent court roll. We hope that the SABC will stick to that undertaking which has been made by them, via their lawyers. Should they not do so, we’ll be back in court soon.”

SABC COO Ian Plaatjies on alternative solutions for the SABC:

Voluntary retrenchment packages

Bemawu said it has proposed to the SABC that it offers voluntary retrenchment packages for up to 450 employees over the age of 55 and avoid retrenchments. The union argued that job losses at the public broadcaster were avoidable.

Bemawu also said the SABC would soon reach its staffing targets through attrition and there was no need to axe staff, especially during these very difficult economic times.

The SABC has been in consultation with workers’ representatives over the past four months.

Unions at the SABC want the public broadcaster to opt to release 450 employees: