Jobs axe swings at the SABC – 400 staff to get the chop

The SABC on Wednesday said it had concluded consultations under section 189 of the Labour Relations Act and would now retrench 400 employees – 200 fewer than the 600 it said previously it might have to let go.

“The SABC is fully cognisant of the fact that this process will affect people’s livelihoods and, moreover, have a knock-on effect on their families and communities. However, having exhausted all other options, we are now faced with the difficult task of having to restructure the organisation to ensure its sustainability,” the public broadcaster said in a statement.

Some labour unions have threatened to strike over the planned retrenchments. But the SABC said it conducted many consultative sessions with employees and labour unions over a period of four months, “significantly exceeding” the statutory minimum requirement of four meetings over two months.

In addition to the 400 retrenchments, the SABC has identified 97 positions that will form part of an outsourcing initiative.

All affected employees will be offered a severance package of one week for each completed year of service, the broadcaster said.

Salary freeze

In addition to the staff cuts, the SABC is considering a three-year salary freeze; reducing employee leave days from 35 calendar days to 28 days; discontinuing the cashing out of leave days; and reducing sick leave from 30 days annually to reflect the 36 days in a three-year cycle aligned to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

“While this decision was not an easy one, it is regrettably necessary for the long-term sustainability of the SABC,” said CEO Madoda Mxakwe in the statement. “This retrenchment is understandably very challenging for all our stakeholders. However, it is one part of our approved turnaround plan that will help to reposition the SABC to achieve financial sustainability.” — © 2020 NewsCentral Media