SABC board concerned about unions' notice to strike over salaries

Johannesburg - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Monday said it had noted with concern a notice to go on strike by employees affiliated to the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union and Communications Workers Union over salary increases.

SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini in a statement said the newly-appointed SABC board met on Monday October 23, and looked at the immediate challenges it had 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," said Makhathini.

He said the board assigned a delegation of board members and executives which met with the unions last Wednesday.

"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 November 1. It is therefore disturbing to receive a notice for a strike prior to our meeting with the unions as agreed."

Also read: Strike looms at bealeaguered SABC

Makhathini said the board began its induction on Sunday, where it resolved to reopen the wage negotiations to deal with all the issues in a structured manner.

He said, "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."

Makhathini said management had some of the operational demands made in a joint letter issued by the unions on October 13.

"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."

Makhathini said the public should rest assured that programming, both on radio and TV, would be transmitted as planned. 


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