SABC employees and affiliated unions outside the Union Buildings where they are calling on government to stop the retrenchments. | Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)
SABC employees and affiliated unions outside the Union Buildings where they are calling on government to stop the retrenchments. | Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Ndabeni-Abrahams calls for alternatives to SABC retrenchments

By Siviwe Feketha Time of article published Jan 27, 2021

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Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has called on the SABC to consider alternatives to its planned retrenchments.

The public broadcaster is currently at loggerheads with unions over its plan to fire more than 300 employees as part of cutting its wage bill and doing away with what it calls redundant posts.

The new, trimmed newsroom structure has, however, been rejected by workers and the unions are pushing back against the job cuts, which are scheduled to be concluded by the end of March.

Many workers were handed letters of dismissal by the SABC this month. Ndabeni-Abrahams said she and Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi had meetings with organised labour, the SABC board and executives at the weekend in a bid to find an amicable resolution to the impasse.

“We were encouraged by the attitude and the spirit of the meetings with the SABC board and its executive management, and earlier with the unions. We have noted signs of progress and goodwill among the parties at the negotiating table,” she said.

The SABC leadership has, however, been maintaining that it will push ahead with the retrenchments and that its decision to cut jobs would pass any legal scrutiny if taken to court. The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) suffered a setback recently after the Labour Court dismissed its attempt to block the dismissals.

The Communication Workers Union has pointed out that it had no plans to use the court to fight the retrenchments, and that it would instead use strikes. Ndabeni-Abrahams said she had made several alternative proposals to both the unions and the SABC leadership for them to explore.

She said the SABC board had indicated that it would consider the proposals at their next meeting, which is scheduled for Friday.

Political Bureau

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