The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has afforded labour unions the final shot at making written submissions, which could potentially help avert shedding jobs.

The public broadcaster intends retrenching as many as 600 employees, as it navigates its financial crisis – just like other state-owned entities struggling to stay afloat.

The public broadcaster and unions have held a number of engagements through the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and have so far failed to reach an agreement on the way forward.

Following the last consultation on Friday, 16 October 2020, the SABC’s head of Human Resources, Dr Mojaki Mosia said retrenchments could go ahead. However, the unions were given another chance to make presentations.

“We fully appreciate that the delay in concluding the Section 189 process is causing anxiety and uncertainty to all SABC employees and stakeholders. However, we had to ensure that we conduct this process in full compliance with the LRA and in the interest of the SABC and its employees,” Mosia said.

“Although the Section 189 process has been concluded and the consulting parties have failed to make any alternative submissions, in the interest of the possible affected employees, the SABC will afford the consulting parties one last chance to make a written submission regarding proposals to the structure or alternatives thereof.”

Bemawu: Consultation not concluded lawfully

While the Labour Relations Act allows for just four CCMA sessions in 60 days, the SABC said it exceeded this, completing 16 sessions in 120 days.

Bemawu, one of the unions affected, has threatened to take legal action against the SABC should it proceed with its threat to conclude the retrenchment process.

“There was a strong recommendation from the CCMA that the SABC must still come and present structures because they presented a structure without scale codes [salary scales]. So, in terms of the already presented structure, which were rushed through, we still have no idea as we need them to still explain those positions,” said Bemawu spokesperson Hannes du Buisson.

The union has also hit back at the broadcaster and claims the consultation was not conducted in full compliance with the LRA.

“The parties were busy with consultation, and due to the fact that the SABC was properly and intensely questioned about its rationale and structures, in particular the structures where the SABC has increased senior management levels instead of decreasing it, the SABC terminated the consultation process via meetings,” Bemawu said.

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Presh JM Reporter

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