A small group of SABC employees on Thursday protested outside the broadcaster’s headquarters in Johannesburg demanding a 10% salary increase.
“We are here today because we are hungry and we are not able to pay our bills. We are not able to do what an ordinary worker is able to do for himself,” employee Nomthi Taubokong said.
Taubokong said the 10% increase was not unreasonable and that workers were open to negotiations.
“The SABC has taken way too long to sort out our issues. They need to care for us, because the most important thing about the organisation is the workers,” she said.
The workers started their protest action at 06:00 on Thursday morning after giving a 48 hour notice of their strike.
Earlier on Thursday, Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) spokesperson Hannes du Buisson told News24 that employees were demanding an investigation into protest reporting policies, non-procedural appointments of senior executives without advertising the posts, and a salary increase.
“Staff are fed up”
“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.
Du Buisson said during the last meeting on Wednesday with the board, they failed to meet workers’ demands.
He said the union had learnt that no provision was made in a submission to Treasury for salary increases.
“We will be out on the streets until it goes out dark on television, until there is nothing on radio. We will be sleeping on the streets for our hard-earned money and for our kids, and for our survival,” another employee, Charles Cicero said.
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 said.
Dikgang Matlhaku said workers needed to be treated better by the broadcaster.
“Our hard [working] money isn’t worth 0%, we don’t want that. We are people here and [thing is] that they think they can do whatever they want to,” Matlhaku said.
Employees are also striking in Durban.