The Communication Workers Union promise a complete blackout at the SABC

20th November 2020

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has issued a warning to SABC management to withdraw retrenchment notices and abandon the process or face a complete blackout. The union has issued management with a strike notice, which will see employees down tools from Friday.

Speaking on POWER Drive on Thursday, CWU general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala says they have given the management till 17:00 to respond to their demands.

“They have not responded but actually we did not expect them to respond that’s why we are preparing to go for all mother of strikes tomorrow,” says Tshabalala.

The public broadcaster is set to cut 400 jobs as opposed to the initial 600. It says it is going ahead with its plan to layoff staff as an option to turn the organisation into a “financially sustainable, self-sufficient public broadcaster”. Tshabalala adds that all processes to go on strike were followed. “The legal process are done now. The only thing that can avert the strike is when the SABC responds positively to our demands.” A total of 170 jobs will be available within the organisation for the employees that will be affected by the retrenchments to apply for. “It will be the 400 that will be able to apply for those positions. If they are not successful then they will be given letters by the end of December and will exit the organisation in January,” said SABC COO Ian Plaatjes on POWER Business. On Tuesday, during a staff meeting, SABC group executive of news Phathiswa Magopeni succumbed to pressure and told staff that she would no longer issue redundancy letters.

However, the SABC’s group HR executive had since labelled this an unfortunate incident, confirming that the process is still going ahead. On Tuesday, the board released the annual financial results for the year 2019/2020. The results show that the public broadcaster recorded a R500 million loss for this financial year. They also had a decline of 6% in revenue.

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