Union Bemawu says the latest events in the newsroom at the SABC’s headquarters in Johannesburg are evidence that the public broadcaster has failed to follow the proper consultation process for retrenchments.
Earlier, SABC News staff took a stand against management during a heated meeting after some staff received redundancy letters.
Group Executive of News, Phathiswa Magopeni, then told the meeting that she could not continue issuing letters of redundancy under the current climate.
Bemawu President Hannes du Buisson says there seems to have been an admission that a proper consultation process was not followed.
“Staff felt that they have not been given a proper opportunity and in the haphazard way that the SABC has instructed staff and us to make submissions to them that did not do service to the consultation process and this was the end of that, where staff who had been working there for 39/40 years, they could not understand how is it possible that the SABC can cut down the newsroom. My understanding was that there was an admission that there was no proper consultation and this is exactly what we said from the beginning.”
Du Buisson has praised Magopeni for her decisive action, saying the SABC needs to resume consultations with unions and staff.
“We want to commend her for that brave stance that she took because she realised at the time that she was confronted in the newsroom that there are serious problems. The suggestions that have been made by the SABC in terms of the structure is not doable. We think that we must go back to the table as we’ve requested and there should be a proper consultation meeting what the staff has requested and the should be a proper consultation meeting where the staff members can give their input.”