Organised labour at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is threatening to approach the courts after the public broadcaster ignored a letter of demand in respect of the retrenchment process.

Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union’s (Bemawu) Hannes du Buisson says they partnered with the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) to issue the letter highlighting concerns over the SABC’s attempt to consult directly with its employees.

The SABC will begin this consultation process tomorrow, with Du Buisson vowing to raise this during that meeting or otherwise approach the Labour Court.

“No absolutely no, … the SABC has not acknowledged receipt (of the letter) absolutely nothing. So they just basically ignored a very important letter that we jointly as organised labour at the SABC sent the SABC 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.”

In the video below, unions outline their views on looming retrenchments at the SABC: 

Two weeks back the Corporation issued a Section 189 Labour Relations Act notice. The Corporation says due to its financial situation it has to retrench approximately 600 permanent employees and end the contracts of 1 200 freelancers.

Executives appear before Parliament

Appearing before Parliament‘s Communications Committee a week after issuing the notice, Chief Financial Officer Yolande van Biljon said while that the public broadcaster has addressed most of the low hanging fruit when it comes to cost-cutting,  the salary bill now needs to be tackled.

Van Biljon has told the committee that the public broadcaster has to do what is necessary, even if it is very painful.

In the video below,  SABC Executives explain challenges to the Parliament Portfolio Committee :