JOHANNESBURG. – The Communications Workers Union (CWU) has threatened that its members will down tools should the SABC fail to address their concerns over proposed retrenchments by Friday, November 16.
“We will give you (SABC) a 48-hour strike notice, and shutdown the broadcaster,” said general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala on Friday.
Workers picketed outside SABC offices across the country on Friday, with the main activities held at the head offices in Auckland Park, where a memorandum of demands was handed to the group CEO Madoda Mxakwe.
The list of demands includes:
- A speedy digital terrestrial migration process;
- An improved funding model for the SABC;
- The conversion of freelancers to permanent employees; and
- The elimination of consultation firms.
The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers’ Union (Bemawu) has accused the SABC of placing profits before the well-being of workers.
“We ask that government fully fund the SABC so that it executes its mandate…and that proper revenue streams be investigated in order to increase the revenue of the broadcaster,” said Bemawu president Hannes du Buisson.
The union also demanded that the SABC withdraw a threat allegedly aimed at workers who participated in Friday’s picket.
CWU’s Tshabalala addressed the issue in front of group CEO Mxakwe, before workers dispersed and said “the matter has been addressed and none of you will be blamed for your presence here”.
Tshabalala said he did not understand why a parastatal had even considered retrenching more than half of its freelancers and a third of its permanent workforce, while President Cyril Ramaphosa had committed to creating more jobs, and sustaining existing employment at a recent job summit.
“The first thing they did when they (new management) came into office, was to increase their own salaries… and look around who to dismiss,” he claimed.
The unions say they will not allow the SABC to sack workers and say the broadcaster should rather seek other ways to keep itself afloat. – News24