Unions to ‘approach court on an urgent basis’ should the SABC issue retrenchment notices

Image: SABC News

CWU's Spokesperson, Aubrey Tshabalala, says he believes the SABC was doing a kicking-box exercise to satisfy the requirements of the law.

The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) and Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) are seeking SABC‘s compliance with the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 and a court order.

CWU’s Spokesperson, Aubrey Tshabalala, says he believes the SABC was doing a kicking box exercise to satisfy the requirements of the law.

“The employers and the organised labour are expected to find solutions in terms of either mitigating the impact of the retrenchments or avoiding it. So, what needs to, therefore, happen is that in terms of the procedure it’s 60 days and basically, four meetings where a rationale will be discussed by both parties. Of course, the employer in this instance has invited labour into the CCMA section 189 meeting and the unfortunate part is that the SABC failed or refused to participate in the meeting in the form that they refused to answer meetings. They changed their corporate plan several times instead of answering the meetings. Therefore, what we believe, as labour, they tried, was nearly to do a kicking-box exercise to satisfy the requirement of the law in terms of attending those meetings and the 60-day process.”

Tshabalala says if the SABC issues any retrenchment notices before they end of the week, it will approach the court urgently.

“The papers have been served. It’s the court that will have to make a decision by next week Wednesday. So, it will be the violation of the proceedings itself if they do that by sometime this week. We’ll wait in anticipation of that but if they do that we will have to approach court on an urgent basis in dealing with that particular question.”

CWU takes SABC to court over retrenchments: Aubrey Tshabalala:

Meanwhile, Bemawu has approached the Labour Court seeking an interdict to stop the SABC from going ahead with its planned retrenchment of staff. The hearing relating to the application will be heard in the Labour Court in Johannesburg next Wednesday.

About 600 permanent workers could lose their jobs after the CCMA-facilitated talks failed to reach an agreement.

Bemawu’s Hannes Du Buisson says, “The application before the Labour Court, we will request the court to direct or order the SABC to return to the consultation process and properly consult on all the outstanding issues in particular. Should the SABC wish to terminate the employment of our members at the SABC that they be restrained to do so.”

Improving planning systems

Last week, the SABC management said it was working on improving its planning systems to ensure that the organisation is financially stable. This followed engagement between SABC management and Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa), which visited the public broadcaster’s head office in Auckland Park, in Johannesburg, to get first-hand information on the financial affairs of the organisation.

The committee said there were discrepancies in the information provided by SABC management and the data in the company’s annual financial statement.

Scopa identifies the possible cause of irregular and wasteful expenditure at the SABC:

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