SABC employees across the country, including journalists and newsreaders, have downed tools and embarked on strike action, saying that they are fed up with political interference in reporting.
After giving 48 hours’ notice of their strike, workers started their protest action at 06:00.
Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) spokesperson, Hannes du Buisson, confirmed that the strike was well under way on Thursday.
Du Buisson said employees were demanding an investigation into protest reporting policies, unprocedural appointments of senior executives without advertising, and a salary increase.
However, there were additional underlying reasons for the strike, Du Buisson said.
“The strike is all about a public broadcaster that needs to be free of political interference. We need to be free of board and executive interference. We want to demonstrate to the SABC that staff are fed up.”
Du Buisson said the union had met with the SABC on several occasions in October. However, during the last meeting on Wednesday, a delegation of the SABC board failed to meet workers’ demands.
“The delegation of the board agreed to meet with us yesterday. We thought they would bring some offer to the table, which they did not do. They wanted to restart the negotiations process that would take several weeks or months. We rejected that and insisted the process take place.”
He added that the union had learnt no provision was made in a submission to Treasury for the government guarantee for staff salary increases.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago described the strike action as “regrettable”.
“The SABC urges all employees who are not striking to report for duty, as per their condition of employment. The organisation also calls upon the striking employees not to intimidate their colleagues who will be coming to work and to proceed with their action in a dignified manner.”
Kganyago added: “The principle of no work, no pay will apply.”