The SABC is expected to appear before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Thursday about its planned retrenchment process. The public broadcaster last month issued a notice of redundancy to staff members.

It argues that its financial position, which has been unsteady for a number of years, has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The public broadcaster announced that following various cost cutting measures, it was left with no choice but to retrench 600 permanent workers and terminate the contracts of 1 200 freelancers.

The organisation’s Section 189 consultation process is meant to commence when the meeting gets under way at the CCMA on Thursday.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) and the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) will be representing workers.

In the video below, SABC unions talks about looming retrenchments at the public broadcaster:

The SABC, which has received a R3 billion government bailout, is arguing that despite the cost cutting measures it has introduced – it still has to reduce its wage bill by R700 million.  It adds that the salary bill cut is one of the bailout conditions.

Organised labour at the SABC are threatening to approach the courts after the public broadcaster ignored a letter of demand regarding the retrenchment process.

Trade union BEMAWU’s Hannes du Buisson says they partnered with another union, the CWU, to issue the letter highlighting concerns over the SABC’s attempt to directly consult with its employees.

Du Buisson is vowing to either raise this during the consultative meeting at the CCMA or approach the Labour Court.

“No absolutely not, dololo from the SABC, no acknowledgement of receipt, absolutely nothing. So, they just basically ignored a very important letter that we jointly as organised labour at the SABC sent  for them to be given an opportunity to respond to very important issues that we raised in terms of the process of this consultation and they chose to ignore that.”