SABC concludes retrenchment process
Public broadcaster says its section 189 process will stand up to legal scrutiny
The SABC has concluded its retrenchment process and will cut 303 jobs, the national broadcaster announced on Thursday.
After considering all options to minimise the job losses, the SABC said the total number of affected SABC employees now 303 which is half of the 600 redundancies that were originally projected.
“However, the final numbers of redundancies are dependent on the acceptance of the proposed alternatives and the number of employees who will opt for voluntary severance packages and early retirement,” the broadcaster said in a statement.
The SABC said it is satisfied that the section 189 process it had followed in terms of the Labour Relations Act can withstand any legal scrutiny.
The public broadcaster has been in a deadlock with unions over the restructuring even since it was announced in and the dispute was heard in the Labour Court which on December 2 2020 ruled in favour of the SABC, finding it had properly conducted itself.
The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) has accused the broadcaster of negotiating in bad faith and earlier this week it reportedly said its members were strongly in support of a strike at the SABC over the planned retrenchment process.
The broadcaster recognised that the retrenchment process was difficult for all stakeholders and emotionally charged at times. “The extended process also created prolonged uncertainty,” it said. “However, it was a necessary part of the SABC’s turnaround plan to reposition the public broadcaster, ensure its stability and financially sustainability and allow the SABC to execute its public mandate to serve all the people of SA.”
The SABC said the process had concluded after an extensive six-month consultation process comprised of 48 consultations.
The 48 consultations included 28 divisional structure consultative sessions, nine bilateral sessions, seven session facilitated by the CCMA, and four facilitated by an independent labour expert.
The process was undertaken in line with section 189 of the labour relations act and exceeded the minimum legislative requirements of 60 days and four sessions.
Although finalised on November 6, on November 23, the SABC board gave into pressure and suspended the execution of the process by 30-days to enable management to further engage directly with employees on the proposed structures. The extended consultation process ended on December 31 2020, the broadcaster said.
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