Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)
Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

SABC set to retrench 303 employees pending workers agreeing to ’proposed alternatives’

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Jan 7, 2021

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The SABC has announced its intention to retrench 303 employees following negotiations with unions and other affected parties within the public broadcaster.

SABC acting spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo said it had concluded its Section 189 process after an extensive six-month consultation process.

“This process comprised 48 consultations, including seven CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration)-facilitated consultative sessions, nine bilateral sessions, 28 divisional structure consultative sessions and four facilitated sessions by an independent labour expert.

“This Section 189 process exceeded the minimum legislative requirements of 60 days and four sessions and was finalised on November 6, 2020. However, on November 23, 2020, the SABC board suspended the execution of the process by 30 days to enable management to further engage directly with employees on the proposed structures. The extended consultation process ended on December 31, 2020,” Seapolelo said.

She further said after considering all options to minimise the total number of affected employees, the SABC had further reduced the number of affected redundant employees to 303 - just under half of the originally projected 600 redundancies.

However, the final number of redundancies was dependent on the acceptance of the proposed alternatives and the number of employees who would opt for voluntary severance packages and early retirement.

“The SABC is satisfied that the Section 189 process can withstand any legal scrutiny. As confirmed by the Labour Court on December 2, 2020, the SABC properly conducted itself in the process, provided all consulting parties with sufficient information and constructively engaged with a view to reach consensus on all the consultations.

“The SABC acknowledges that the retrenchment process was difficult for all stake-holders and emotionally charged at times. The extended process also created prolonged uncertainty. However, it was a necessary part of the SABC’s turnaround plan to reposition the public broadcaster, ensure its stability and financial sustainability and allow the SABC to execute its public mandate to serve all the people of South Africa in all our languages and across all platforms,” Seapolelo said.

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