Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Possible strike looms at SABC

One of the largest unions at the SABC has asked workers to vote on whether they want to embark on a strike.

The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers’ Union (Bemawu) has canvassed its members in a survey posted on its website on Friday.

“It is October. No salary increase. No Board. A bankrupt SABC,” the post reads.

“We started with Salary Negotiations, and the SABC had 0% on offer. Organised Labour agreed to postpone negotiations until the Government Guarentee has been granted.  This seems to be delayed, for no apparent reason. There is no bail-out for now, SABC running in almost a R1b deficit.

“So, what do we do?
“Do we wait for the Government Guarantee, or do we go on strike?”

It is understood that about 70 percent of those polled voted in favour of the strike, while the rest believe the demands should wait until a government bailout is approved.

The possibility of a strike threatens to deepen the turmoil at the SABC, which has suffered huge financial losses.

The SABC posted a R977 million loss after tax for the 2016/17 financial year, according to its annual report tabled in Parliament last month.

Revenue declined from R8.1 billion in 2016 to R7.6 billion, a 6 percent decrease, Fin24 reported.
Advertising fell by 5 percent to R5.6 billion, while sponsorship revenue declined by 18 percent to R384 million and TV licence revenue dropped by 7 percent to R915 million.

The losses occurred amid “terrifying” mismanagement, interim board chair Khanyisile Kweyama said in the annual report.

“At the same time, those tasked with the leadership of the corporation were reluctant to admit to the glaring crisis, preferring to draw up a corporate plan that did not address the operational, reputational and financial realities of the SABC.”

Much of the SABC’s financial woes have been blamed on axed chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Motsoeneng’s controversial 90 percent local content policy cost the broadcaster more than R200 million, interim deputy board chairperson Mathatha Tsedu said earlier this year.

Management of the SABC is currently in limbo as President Jacob Zuma mulls the appointment of a new board.

Twelve names have been recommended to Zuma by parliament, including Kweyama and Tsedu. But it is believed the president is unhappy with some of the recommendations due to political considerations.

The delays could also hinder the appointment of a chief executive and chief operating officer.
Bemawu could not immediately be reached for comment.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said: “I don’t know anything about that. We had a staff meeting yesterday and that issue did not come up. All the staff from across the country were there … if the survey was done, I don’t know about it … there is no survey done across staff that I know of … maybe it is a specific union.”

However, a staff member said the issue was discussed at the staff meeting and that the CEO had tried to calm employees down. Employees were told “there is no money” and that the SABC is still awaiting a bailout.

-Content by TMTV

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