File picture: Independent Media

Johannesburg - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has said that it was concerned the notice for workers to go on strike, which was issued by the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) and the Communications Workers Union (CWU).

Both unions are demanding a 10 percent increase for workers across the board, backdated to April 2017, but the SABC says it cannot move from its "zero percent offer" because it is broke.

The SABC said "it was disturbing" to receive a notice for a strike prior to a meeting agreed with the unions scheduled for Wednesday following extensive meetings last week.

Unions issued the 48-hour strike notice on Monday.

SABC spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, said that the board started its induction on Sunday, where it resolved it to reopen the wage negotiations to deal with all the issues "in a structured manner". 

Kganyago said the board was committed to working closely with the unions and all employees.

"We will uphold proper governance procedures in our interactions with the unions. As a sign of good faith, management has already met some of the operational demands made in the joint letter issued by the unions on the 13th of October 2017," Kganyago said in a statement.

"It is common knowledge that the SABC is going through a financial crisis and that we have applied for a government guarantee that will, if approved, come with conditions, which we will have to adhere to. Among the things the board is looking at, are other concrete steps towards the financial stability of the corporation."

The new SABC board had its first meeting on Monday last week to look at immediate challenges it has to deal with. 

The broadcaster said that major priorities which emerged were the need to stabilise the financial situation and staff morale as the SABC still carries more debts than it can pay despite significant progress by the interim board in cutting the losses it inherited.

Kganyago said the board and management were determined to rebuild the SABC into a broadcaster that all South Africans can be proud of, and were looking forward to working with the unions and all staff in reaching this common goal.