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SABC unions to consult members after decision to halt job cuts until January

SABC management on Tuesday made an about-turn and put a hold on the issuing of Section 189 letters.

FILE: SABC employees picketed outside their offices on 19 November 2020. The employees of the embattled public broadcaster are protesting against retrenchments that could see hundreds lose their jobs. Picture: Xanderleigh Dookey Makhaza/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Unions representing disgruntled SABC employees on Tuesday said they would consult their members on a way forward after the public broadcaster suspended the retrenchment process until the end of December.

SABC management made an about-turn and put a hold on the issuing of Section 189 letters. This involves about 400 staffers with 170 positions created.

Unions held lengthy discussions with SABC management, calling on the corporation to scrap the retrenchment process and consider alternatives, including cutting the wage bill.

Aubrey Shabalala for the Communications Workers Union (CWU) said that the decision taken by the SABC would have the opposite result of what was needed.

“We accept the 30 days for further engagement because we think that it’s progress provided that you withdraw the letters,” Shabalala said.

The president of the Broadcasting Electronic Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu), Hannes du Buisson, said they would wait to hear from their members about what steps should be taken.

“We are in the Labour Court and already on Friday, the matter has been put on the urgent roll. Our plea to the Labour Court is that they order the SABC to properly consult and withdraw those termination letters,” Du Buisson said.

“I’m going to seek a mandate from our members if they want us to proceed with that application or should we enter into this process,” he added.

Employees have been picketing outside the SABC demanding a halt to the process.

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