The SABC has announced that the suspension of its 400 planned retrenchments has been extended until the end of the year.
“The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) Board has extended the suspension of the Section 189 process, to the end of December 2020, to enable additional consultations,” the public broadcaster said in a statement.
“This decision followed further engagements with organised labour and other stakeholders.”
The SABC said that as consultations continue, the broadcaster’s management team and employees will jointly work with all participating parties to further review potential solutions to the dire financial situation faced by the company.
It said this will be done “with the intent to ensure that they are optimal and enabling to achieve the public mandate of the SABC”.
“The SABC and the participating parties will utilise this time for further mediated sessions with an independent labour expert to explore alternative options to minimising the impact of retrenchments,” the SABC said.
The issued redundancy letters will also be extended by the same period, it said, noting that the Section 189 process has not been terminated.
Backlash from unions
The SABC faced severe backlash from labour unions after it began to retrench 400 staff as part of its recovery plan.
The Communications Workers Union (CWU) organised a strike action at the public broadcaster, which prompted the SABC board to originally suspend the retrenchment process for seven days.
“This will allow all stakeholders to further engage and explore further options in an effort to ensure the financial sustainability of the SABC,” the SABC said.
In response, the CWU said it would not concentrate on the suspension, and instead it would focus on its strike action.
“We are not going to concentrate on this seven-days’ Christmas party they have invited us to,” the CWU said.
The SABC has now extended the suspension until the end of the year in an attempt to resolve the conflict with unions, who have called for the placing of the SABC into business administration.