Unions concerned about situation at SABC

SABC building
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The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has reiterated that it will strongly oppose any attempts to retrench staff at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) says it is concerned about the current impasse on solving the financial crisis at the public broadcaster.

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee that one of the reasons behind the SABC‘s deep financial crisis is due to an over-bloated staff.

The SABC board also tabled its concerns before the committee, saying staff costs remain a major cost item to the broadcaster.

CWU’s Secretary General Aubrey Tshabalala says the SABC should only use a skills audit to redeploy its staff to digital platforms.

“First and foremost, it’s not a skills audit to retrench people because we spoke about a number of things when we talk about a skills audit. One of those was a digital migration on how you redeploy the personnel that you have and making sure that you don’t lose the personnel that you actually need at SABC as a result of closing eyes and saying these are the numbers we need to cut. You can’t just say the staff is bloated without reflecting to the strategy.”

Bemawu president Hannes Du Buisson says the union will request an urgent meeting with the SABC and the Communications Minister to discuss the matter.

“Things seem to be not moving forward. We, as labour, need a discussion around this and we are going to write to the SABC. In fact, that letter has already been drafted to ask for an urgent meeting with the Minister, DOC, the portfolio committee and the board, so that we can understand what is going on.”