SABC blackout threat

SABC unions are threatening a blackout of all services this morning if restructuring and retrenchment processes are not halted.

Aubrey Tshabalala, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), said a go-slow at the SABC started yesterday which already resulted in a few glitches.

From 11:00 to 14:00 today, the industrial action from workers will be intensified, which Tshabalala said will lead to a blackout at the SABC’s TV and radio stations.

“They can play old recordings, but there will be no fresh news or fresh content,” he said.

The latest strike action follows a statement by the SABC on 7 January that it has concluded its Section 189 process after an extensive 6-month consultation process.

“This Section 189 process exceeded the minimum legislative requirements of 60 days and 4 sessions and was finalised on 6 November 2020,” the SABC said.

On 23 November 2020, the SABC Board suspended the execution of the process by 30-days to enable management to further engage directly with employees on the proposed structures.

The extended consultation process ended on 31 December 2020.

“After considering all options to minimise the total number of affected employees, the SABC has further reduced the number of affected redundant employees to 303 – just over half of the originally projected 600 redundancies,” it said.

The final numbers of redundancies are dependent on the acceptance of the proposed alternatives like Voluntary Severance Packages (VSPs) and Early Retirement.

The SABC said it is satisfied that the Section 189 process can withstand any legal scrutiny.

Commenting on the strike action, the SABC told Business Day last week it was unperturbed by this development as “the drive to cut its wage bill can withstand any legal scrutiny”.

SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo said the SABC has contingency plans in place to ensure the continuous running of SABC services during strike action.

Now read: Government owes SABC more than R28 million in TV licence fees

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SABC blackout threat