The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has noted with concern the notice to go on strike by the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) and Communications Workers Union (CWU) at the corporation over salary increases.
The new SABC board had its first meeting on Monday the 23rd of October 2017, looking at immediate challenges it has to deal with. The major priorities which emerged were the need to stabilise the financial situation and staff morale. Despite significant progress by the Interim Board in cutting the losses it inherited, the SABC still carries more debts than it can pay.
The Board assigned a delegation of Board Members and Executives to meet with Unions on Wednesday the 25th of October 2017.
In the meeting, after hearing the wage and other demands of the unions and explaining the financial situation of the corporation to the unions, the delegation from the Board indicated that they will take the matter to the full Board and revert to the unions on 1st November 2017.
It is therefore disturbing to receive a notice for a strike prior to our meeting with the unions as agreed.
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. The Board is committed to working closely with the Unions and all employees to ensure that the SABC is brought back to its former strength. 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 October 2017.
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. Amongst the things the Board is looking at, are other concrete steps towards the financial stability of the corporation.
We would like to assure the public that the Board and Management will make sure that the programmes on radio and TV will be transmitted as planned.
The Board and Management are determined to rebuild the SABC, into a broadcaster that all South Africans can be proud of. We look forward to working with the Unions and all staff in reaching this common goal.
Issued By: Group Communications on behalf of the SABC Board Chairperson, Mr, Bongumusa Makhathini
Media Enquiries: Mr. Kaizer Kganyago (SABC Spokesperson)
082 306 8888