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The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has called on the SABC and SA Post Office (Sapo) to demand bailouts from the government in order to fund salary increases for workers.

On Wednesday, the Cosatu affiliate announced it would embark on a national mass action to force state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to accede to their salary increase demands.

The union, whose national leadership met on Tuesday, said the SOEs should demand bailouts from the Treasury to have the money required to implement the 12% and 11% increase for workers.

CWU president Clyde Mervin said the union would reject the 3% offered by the public broadcaster, adding it would not make a difference to workers hard-pressed by the rising cost of living.

“The SABC must go to the government and get a bailout, the same as Sapo. They must all go for (a) bailout so that workers can have proper increases. Workers on a daily basis are suffering. We cannot agree (to) companies coming today in a new phenomenon of a new dawn on 3%,” he said.

This week, the SABC announced the permanent appointment of Madoda Mxakwe and Yolande van Biljon as group chief executive and chief financial officer, respectively, while the new board is trying to turn the organisation around.

CWU deputy general secretary Thabo Mogalane said lack of funds would not be accepted by the union as an explanation, as many other parastatals had been given substantial guarantees by the government.

“We believe there are ways of dealing with that situation, one of which is through the guarantee by National Treasury. The SABC went there last year and early this year.”

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago did not respond to questions by the time of going to print.

Sapo has been granted a R3.5 billion bailout by the government, but CWU general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala said its conditions did not cater for the needs of workers, including the demanded increases.

“Treasury gave Sapo a bailout to settle debts owed to the banks and we believe that, firstly, the state is not considerate of the state of paralysis, both financially and structurally, at the Post Office. Secondly, (it is) careless about those who are responsible to make Sapo run on a day-to-day basis, who are expected to go a third year without annual salary increase,” Tshabalala said.

The union will start its strike action on July 6 at Sapo and Telkom offices nationally, with the main march scheduled for the Union Buildings.

Tshabalala said the union was also demanding the amendment of the Bank Act to allow the state to own a bank, as the current legislation did not allow it.

Such an amendment would enable the state to grant the Post Bank a banking licence which would empower it to take over the full-time responsibility of distributing social grants.

The Star