CWU threatens SABC with full-blown strike

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The SABC and the Communications Workers Union are deadlocked in a wage dispute despite numerous engagements over a period of four months.

The parties have not been able to reach a consensus regarding the backdating of the agreed increment from April 2023, with the CWU accepting the 6% offer but demanding that it should be backdated to April last year.

The union has appealed to parliament’s portfolio committee on communications & digital technologies to resolve the dispute and is threatening a full-blown wage strike at the cash-strapped public broadcaster that could impact the coverage of the upcoming elections.

CWU national bargaining coordinator Nathen Bowers explained in an interview with TechCentral that the union has been negotiating with the SABC since July 2023 and had hoped that when newly appointed CEO Nomsa Chabeli started in the role this month, the deadlock would be unblocked.

On 8 March, the CCMA issued the default picketing rules, which are yet to be signed by both parties before a certificate of non-resolution can be issued.

“A strike is a last resort for us,” Bowers said. “We have been to the CCMA to get the picketing rules signed off, which has not happened yet, and we have warned that this needs to happen as soon as possible. But the workers are resolute. They want to go on strike and there is no question that if this is not resolved by the time of the general meeting next week, they will go on strike and disrupt the general elections campaign that is in full swing right now.

‘Treated like dirt’

“We sympathise with the public of South Africa, but if workers are not afforded an increase over three years and then demand a backdate and they are treated like dirt by the SABC, the SABC workers have no alternative but to bring the SABC to its knees during this election campaign,” he said.

Read: Alarm at move to ‘push through’ SABC Bill

The public broadcaster said its financial challenges are public knowledge and that it has been transparent about this. It said it is still faced with difficult conditions which continue to hinder the full operation of the organisation but realises it is of utmost importance that the current impasse is resolved to ensure optimal business continuity.   – © 2024 NewsCentral Media

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