Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
22 Nov 2020
12:45 pm

SABC protest ‘a success’, says union after meeting request to discuss Section 189 notices

Citizen Reporter

The union has encouraged CWU members and SABC employees to continue to embark on industrial action 'until our demands are met.'

Political parties outside SABC offices in Johannesburg on 19 November 2020. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) on Sunday said their demonstration at the embattled South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was a success. 

This after the union received a letter of invitation from the SABC requesting to meet with them to discuss alternatives to retrenchments. 

The meeting will take place on Monday, and the CWU confirmed they would attend. 

“We will be giving feedback at the picketing lines on Monday after the meeting.”

As part of the CWU’s industrial action, no interviews will be conducted with the union on SABC radio or TV. 

ALSO READ: Some SABC board members break ranks to oppose retrenchments

“We know very well that it is not over and may be far before it’s over, however we are happy that our action can be coined as a successful protest.” 

The union has encouraged CWU members and SABC employees to continue to embark on industrial action “until our demands are met.”

“Those who are working are actually making it easier for management to continue with their plants to retrench.

“We further salute our members and workers who are on strike and encourage them to continue with the strike.”

Employees were issued Section 189 notices earlier this week, which intends to restructure the company as a cost cutting measure. 

Government has implored the broadcaster to seek alternative options and to prioritise preserving jobs. 

Not all board members at the SABC are comfortable with the inevitable retrenchments going ahead, with SABC board deputy chairperson Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi telling The Citizen this week that five members stood in solidarity with staff members. 

She slammed the process as having come at the worst time, and said it had a “serious impact on staff morale.”

Although government is a shareholder of the SABC, the board is able to make an independent decision, which people fear may mean retrenching hundreds of staff members.

On Friday, the SABC made the decision to suspend the Section 189 notices for seven days, while it engages with its stakeholders. 

Its 2019-2020 annual report revealed a net loss of R511 million, a 12% decline of total revenue, a R791 million TV licence revenue reduction, and R202 million in irregular expenditure. Fruitless and wasteful expenditure declined by 87% to R27 million. 

Staff salaries account for 43% of the company’s total expenditure. 

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