SABC says final number of retrenchments may still be reduced

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Thursday said it was hopeful unions would agree to its proposed measures to save hundreds of jobs at the public broadcaster, but still go ahead with retrenchments.

The corporation has concluded its retrenchment process after considering all options to minimize job losses.

After months of consultation, deadlocked sessions, and protest action, at least 303 SABC employees face retrenchment, which is almost half of the 600 redundancies that were originally projected.

The embattled company, which said it had recognized that the retrenchment process was difficult for all and emotionally charged at times, said the final number of retrenchments could be further reduced.

The tumultuous process comes after the negotiating process was extended and concluded on the last day of December.

The SABC’s Ian Plaatjies said the final number of redundancies depended on staff and organized labour accepting alternatives that had been proposed.

“That part of the alternatives still needs to be agreed to so it would be, for example, a salary freeze across the board – from executives, right down, for the next three years or until we manage to turn the organization around; as well as a reduction in the number of leave days; the termination of the practice of encashment of leave; as well as a reduction of the number of sick leave days.”

Plaatjies said he was satisfied that the Section 189 process could withstand any legal scrutiny, despite some unions accusing the broadcaster of negotiating in bad faith.

“We’ve had about 48 different consultation sessions.”

The SABC is expected to publish the final version of its new structure, which it said would make the organization financially viable.


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Zodwa Wabantu

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