SABC cancels union agreement

2011-08-05 07:26

The SABC has terminated its nine-year collective bargaining agreement with the Media Workers’ Association of SA trade union (Mwasa) with immediate effect.

The SABC cited Mwasa’s failure to comply with the threshold of 20% of employees in the SABC’s bargaining unit.

However, Mwasa general-secretary Tuwani Gumani said the termination was not about the threshold but the issues the union had been raising.

Mwasa has been embroiled in a war of words with the SABC over the public broadcaster’s turnaround strategy, which the union recently referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

The union insists it was never consulted during the drawing up of the strategy.

Gumani said Mwasa also raised safety concerns about the SABC’s Mpumalanga office in Nelspruit.

The other unions at the SABC are the Cosatu affiliate, the Communication Workers’ Union; and the independent Broadcast, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union.

The other two unions are also governed by the same agreement but meet the threshold.

Mwasa currently has about 15% of the bargaining unit, according to SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

Kganyago said Mwasa was notified more than six months ago instead of the three stipulated in the agreement.

But Gumani said Mwasa had agreed with senior SABC officials to change the threshold to 500 instead of percentages.

“The SABC is misrepresenting facts deliberately,” he said.

The agreement was signed in December 2002 and Mwasa is an affiliate of the country’s third-largest federation, the National Council of Trade Unions.

The SABC will allow Mwasa to re-apply once it is able to meet the 20% threshold requirement.

Gumani admitted that they had fallen below the 20% threshold.

“That’s a challenge we’re facing and we’re in the process of rebuilding,” he said.

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