SABC staff set to strike ahead of ANC conference

A sore point for the unions remain the R3.9-million payment to the interim board for their six month service. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

A sore point for the unions remain the R3.9-million payment to the interim board for their six month service. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

SABC employees are set to go on a national strike on Thursday 14 December at 6am – two days before the ANC elective conference kicks off.

Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) have notified the SABC of their intention to strike after negotiations over salary increases fell through.

The certificate issued by the CWU, ensuring their strike is protected, covers all employees of the SABC. For this reason, Audrey Tshabalala, the spokesperson of CWU, states that the union will be encouraging all employees of the broadcaster to participate in the strike.

Hannes du Buisson, spokesperson for Bemawu, says that the members of the union have rejected the SABC’s proposal of a 4.5% increase. The SABC offered its employees a 4.5% increase after the union threatened to strike last week.

The rejected 4.5% increase would only be backdated for six months, another factor the union took issue with.

Tshabalala admitted that CWU was given the same revised offer as Bemawu this morning but that anything less than inflation was viewed as an “insult” by the union. He adds that the offer would need to be backdated at least nine months, considering that the current financial year is almost over.

Du Boisson says that, while it is never nice to have a strike at the workplace, a better offer needs to be made to Bemawu’s members. Du Buisson acknowledges the timing and the importance that the elective conference holds for the country.

A sore point for the unions remains the R3.9-million payment to the interim board for their six month service. While SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago maintains that the payment to the board was approved by the Department of Communication, Tshabalala believes it is a testament of the “greed and hypocrisy,” as well as an attempt to mislead the public.

According to the respective unions, the CWU has 1400 members at the SABC, while Bemawu has 1800.

SABC spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, confirmed that the SABC received a notice to strike from the unions. 

​Dalaine Krige

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