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Retrenchments at SABC suspended for 30 days

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The SABC Board has announced that it will suspend the planned retrenchments of around 400 employees until the end of the year.

South Africa – Cape Town – 20 November 2020 – Staff of the The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) picket outside the SABC building against retrenchments. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)

The SABC Board has announced it will suspend the planned retrenchments of around 400 employees until the end of the year amid on-going protests by workers at the public broadcaster.

Johannesburg – The SABC Board has announced it will suspend the planned retrenchments of about 400 employees until the end of the year amid the protests by workers at the public broadcaster.

This will allow for consultations to take place between management and unions on the public broadcaster’s planned restructure, that will see about 230 employees lose their jobs.

The SABC has been recently plunged into uncertainty and threats of blackouts as workers have been at loggerheads with the corporation’s leadership over the job cuts.

The SABC intends to retrench 400 workers, but from those 170 will be re-employed in a newly structured SABC. The SABC says it is under pressure to save over R700 million in wages each year. In the last financial year, the SABC spent R2.35 billion on salaries and reported a loss of R511m.

Unions organising within the SABC have accused management and the board of hatching up a new trimmed structure without consulting worker representatives before implementing it.

The management had, however, maintained the retrenchments were necessary as the SABC had to do away with redundant employees and had to deal with its huge wage bill, which was a big cost driver.

Following protests on Friday, the SABC announced it had suspended the retrenchment process for seven days to allow engagements with worker representatives and unions, who continued to lead lunchtime pickets by workers.

Yesterday afternoon the SABC said it had further suspended the retrenchments until the end of next month.

SABC acting spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo said the suspension of Section 189 was aimed at enabling further consultation.

“This decision followed further engagements with organised labour and other stakeholders. During this period, the SABC management and its employees will jointly work with all participating parties to further review the proposed structures with the intent to ensure that they are optimal and enable them to achieve the public mandate of the SABC,” Seapolelo said.

“The SABC and the participating parties will utilise this time for further mediated sessions with an independent labour expert to explore alternative options to minimising the impact of retrenchments.

“The issued redundancy letters will also be extended by the same period,” she added.

However, Seapolelo stressed the Section 189 process has not been terminated by the public broadcaster.

Political Bureau