Today's Labour News

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sabcBL Premium reports that according to SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board chair Bongumusa Makhathini, job cuts were unavoidable if the public broadcaster was to avert a collapse similar to national carrier SAA or state-owned arms maker Denel.  

The broadcaster was thrown into fresh turmoil this week after it announced plans to issue retrenchment notices, sparking staff protests that included threats to launch a go-slow and journalists refusing to go on air.  That was followed by an apparent climbdown, which turned out to be short-lived.  Minister of communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who blocked previous efforts by the board to cut staff, also waded in and said the board must look for an alternative plan.  But, Makhathini insisted on Wednesday that job cuts could not be avoided because wages that ate up just over 40% of revenue were not sustainable.  Unlike SAA, the national airliner that collapsed into business rescue in late 2019, the broadcaster wasn’t allocated fresh funding in finance minister Tito Mboweni’s medium-term budget policy statement in October.  After a day of high drama at the SABC offices in Auckland Park on Tuesday, SABC group executive for news Phathiswa Magopeni is said to have relented and withdrew the notices of retrenchments.  But in reaction Makhathini said only the board chair was authorised to communicate a change of direction in the cost-cutting exercise.  On Wednesday morning, a memo was sent to staff, indicating that the job cuts were back on the table and that 400 workers would be affected.  Unions are planning to go on strike later this week, which could lead to a blackout on SABC channels.

  • Read the full original of the report in the above regard by Bekezela Phakathi at BusinessLive (paywall access only)

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