The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] rejects the intention by the South African Broadcasting Corporation [SABC] to retrench 981 permanent workers and over 1000 freelancers as part of a restructuring strategy.
Workers cannot suffer because of the circus that was ran by one Hlaudi Motsoeneng while at the helm of the public broadcaster. Hlaudi and the former board was allowed to run the SABC like their own spaza shop and now workers must lose their jobs because their inability to practise good governance and financial prudency. As NEHAWU, we reject any job bloodbath that comes as a result of the mismanagement by a few individuals who did not have the public broadcaster’s interest at heart.
We find it flummoxing that treasury is willing to rescue South Africa Airways [SAA] and SA Express but no measures are put in place to save the SABC as the public broadcaster.
A verification process by the SABC has revealed that between the period 1st April 2015 and 31st March 2017 there was a indeed a large number of employees who were irregularly appointed, promoted or had their salaries irregularly increased. As part of practising sound governance procedures and promoting a culture of accountability, we call on the SABC to find alternative ways to correct these irregularities instead of laying off workers.
We support our sister union, the Communications Workers Union [CWU], in fighting the looming retrenchments. We call on the SABC to negotiate in good faith, they agreed that a facilitator must be appointed by the CCMA to deal with the matter. However, that process has not taken place yet and the SABC has already unilaterally announced the restructuring strategy without consulting with unions.
The looming retrenchments comes on the heels of the Presidential Job Summit which took a resolution that there must be a moratorium on job losses both in the public and private sector. To prove that the summit was not another talk show government must proactively protect the jobs of SABC workers.
A meeting was convened this afternoon at the request of the Minister of Social Development, Honourable Susan Shabangu, to resolve issues that led to NEHAWU embarking on a national strike.
The meeting was characterised by robust debates and eventually arrived at a positive outcome for both beneficiaries and workers. Both parties agreed that issues that led to the strike could have been handled much better and committed themselves to build a more cordial relationship with each other. The meeting recommitted themselves to ensuring that beneficiaries are taken care of and treated with dignity. Both parties agreed that a special focus is needed to deal with the consequences of the decommissioning of pay points which has disadvantaged beneficiaries especially those in rural areas.
At the end both parties agreed that Biometrics must be suspended and that functionality on the system must be reversed by Monday, 15 October 2018. After the suspension of the functionality is done tests will be conducted to eliminate any unintended consequences. Workers will revert back to the SOCPEN system that they have been using and are familiar with. An amendment of the KPA’s of grant administrator will be undertaken and SASSA will also look into the issue of remuneration for any extra added tasks to be performed by workers.
Job Evaluations must be undertaken and the Minister also commit to prioritise the issue of skills audit. Going forward, consultation shall be strengthened. The circular instructing employees to bypass the biometric shall be withdrawn officially and a message will be sent to all SASSA managers across the country in this regard. Equally final warnings issued shall be withdrawn too and no disciplinary actions relating to biometrics will be tolerated going forward.
The union will go back to the picket lines tomorrow to report to members on a draft settlement agreement and use that to get a mandate for signing and demobilising. On Monday, all workers are expected to return back to work and parties agreed that the “no work, no pay” principle will not be applied and that no workers will face punitive measures for participating on the strike.