Apr 10, 2021

SABC’S Process To Retrench 621 Workers Is Not Transparent – Union

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The broadcaster said it will transition into a new ‘fit-for-purpose structure’, effective 1 April 2021.

FILE PHOTO: SABC employees striking after they were served with retrenchment letters outside SABC studios. PICTURE: Eugene Coetzee

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JOHANNESBURG: The public broadcaster announced that 621 workers will be leaving by the end of today.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has accused the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) of not being transparent with its process of retrenching workers.

The SABC has announced that it concluded its Section 189 retrenchment process, which will see 621 people leaving the group at the end of March.

Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act permits employers to dismiss employees for operational requirements.

Speaking to a Johannesburg-based radio station, on Tuesday, CWU general secretary Mr Aubrey Tshabalala said, “The process has not been transparent. It included a number of shenanigans and of course victimisations of others.”

Mr Tshabalala suggests that the number of people who have been affected by Section 189 might be double what the public broadcaster is reporting.

According to the SABC, 346 employees opted for voluntary severance packages while 275 employees occupied positions that have been declared redundant.

The broadcaster said it will transition into a new ‘fit-for-purpose structure’, effective 1 April 2021.

Mr Tshabalala says they will not let this go unchallenged. He says they have already consulted their lawyers to find an alternative means to challenge the matter. 

“One of the options we have to look into is the process of legal in terms of the CCMA [Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration]  process. The unfortunate part of it it takes a bit longer,” he said.

“So it is some of the things we have tabled with our legal department to look into it and how do we take the matter forward,” Mr Tshabalala said.

The retrenchements are part of the the cashstrapped SABC’s restructuring process, which is aimed at reducing its wage bill to make the organisation financially sustainable.

The public broadcaster is and has been embroiled in a financial crisis, recording losses of nearly R500 million in the last financial year alone.

They also had a decline of 6% in revenue.

Additional reporting Power Digital

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