Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) on Tuesday rejected the intention by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to retrench 981 permanent workers and over 1000 freelancers as part of a restructuring project.

The SABC on Monday notified staff of the possible retrenchments.

"Workers cannot suffer because of the circus that was ran by one Hlaudi Motsoeneng while at the helm of the public broadcaster. Hlaudi and the former board was allowed to run the SABC like their own spaza shop and now workers must lose their jobs because of their inability to practise good governance and financial prudency," said Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha.

"As Nehawu, we reject any job bloodbath that comes as a result of the mismanagement by a few individuals who did not have the public broadcaster’s interest at heart."

Saphetha said they found it flummoxing that treasury was willing to rescue South Africa Airways (SAA) and SA Express but no measures were put in place to save the SABC as the public broadcaster.

Nehawu said a verification process by the SABC had revealed that between the period April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2017 there was a indeed a large number of employees who were irregularly appointed, promoted or had their salaries irregularly increased.

"We call on the SABC to find alternative ways to correct these irregularities instead of laying off workers. We support our sister union, the Communications Workers Union (CWU), in fighting the looming retrenchments.

Nehawu called on the SABC to "negotiate in good faith", saying the broadcaster had agreed that a facilitator be appointed by the CCMA to deal with the matter. 

The looming retrenchments comes on the heels of the Presidential Job Summit which took a resolution that there must be a moratorium on job losses both in the public and private sector. 

"To prove that the summit was not another talk show government must proactively protect the jobs of SABC workers," said Saphetha.

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African News Agency (ANA)