SABC unions caught off-guard by possible retrenchments announcement

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The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), which is the majority union at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), says it was caught completely off-guard by an announcement that the SABC was embarking on a retrenchment process.

In a statement, on Thursday, the SABC says it is proceeding with the Section 189(3) retrenchment process due to its dire financial position. The SABC says it will consult with its over 3 000 employees about plans to cut jobs and restructure the broadcaster.

“We have never engaged with the SABC on retrenchments. So, we have not had a formal discussion with SABC. The only meeting we had as the national office bearers with the SABC was to discuss the whole issue of restructuring and we have never discussed any issues on retrenchments. So, they are acting in bad faith, in actual fact, they are cowards, they had an opportunity to engage us as the national office bearers in our meeting of three days ago,” says the union’s president Clive Mervin.

Labour Union The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) has also vowed to urgently approach the Labour Court to stop the planned retrenchments at the SABC.

Bemawu says it was also, just like the CWU, not consulted before the SABC issued the notice of its intention to start the retrenchment process.

The public broadcaster says it could not continue in its current form, also stating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations.

But, Bemawu says the retrenchment plan caught them completely off-guard.

“Our remedy is to revert to the Labour Court on an urgent basis to stop this process if the SABC claims that it consulted and that they are proceeding with the retrenchments. The letter that they served on us today said that the SABC has not made a final decision in this respect, but most certainly SABC employees can be assured that we will not simply let the SABC make people lose their jobs,” says Bemawu’s president, Hannes du Buisson.

Bemawu reacts to possible SABC job cuts: