SABC terminates agreement with media union

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has terminated its agreement with the Media Workers’ Association of SA (Mwasa), the broadcaster said on Thursday.

Mwasa had failed to comply with a clause in the agreement which required that, for it to have organisational rights, it needed to have “20% or more of the employees employed by the SABC in the bargaining unit”, said SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

“The union was given sufficient notice period to improve their membership numbers, which they did not achieve,” he said.

The union’s organisational rights and the agreement would be re-instated if it met the SABC’s requirements, Kganyago said.

Mwasa general secretary Tuwani Gumani said the agreement, which came into effect in December 2002, was modified in May.

“The SABC is pretending that it has amnesia. We agreed that it was better to deal with actual figures than percentages, so we decided on a figure of 500 members across the board,” he said.

“The SABC and Mwasa continued to conclude a wage agreement effective July 2011 on these agreed terms,” he said.

Gumani accused the SABC of retaliating against Mwasa because it took the broadcaster to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration on May 9.

He said that “by the hand of God”, an arbitration hearing on August 3 was moved to August 23.

Mwasa wanted the SABC to stop turnaround strategies and initiatives, because the union had not been consulted about the effects these would have on workers.

“If we are wrong about the agreement, and our numbers our low, then we will admit we have to pull up our socks.

“But the SABC is playing a dirty game and has not approached us, which is the correct procedure and process that needs to be followed,” Gumani said.

He said the law recognised Mwasa as a registered trade union, even if the SABC wished for the contrary.

“We have always said that we will fight where we need to, and the SABC has chosen the wrong fight.” — Sapa

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