SABC ends retrenchment consultation process, says about 300 face job losses

07 January 2021 - 16:16
The SABC says it has concluded its consultation process for retrenchments after suspending it in November last year. File photo.
The SABC says it has concluded its consultation process for retrenchments after suspending it in November last year. File photo.
Image: Tyrone Arthur

The SABC says it has concluded its section 189 retrenchment process, and that it will halve the originally projected 600 redundancies.

The broadcaster said it had now completed the process after it had been suspended in November.

“After considering all options to minimise the total number of affected employees, the SABC has further reduced the number of affected redundant employees to 303,” the public broadcaster said.

It added that the final number of redundancies was dependent on the acceptance of the proposed alternatives and the number of employees who opt for voluntary severance packages (VSPs) and early retirement.

In November last year, the SABC had to suspend the process for further consultations after staff went on a strike, protesting against the proposed retrenchments.

The broadcaster says it is satisfied that the section 189 process can withstand any legal scrutiny. 

According to the SABC, it was an extensive six-month consultation process.

“This process comprised 48 consultations, including seven CCMA facilitated consultative sessions, nine bilateral sessions, 28 divisional structure consultative sessions and four facilitated sessions by an independent labour expert,” the SABC said in a statement.

“This section 189 process exceeded the minimum legislative requirements of 60 days and four sessions and was finalised on November 6 2020.”

As confirmed by the labour court on December 2, the SABC “properly conducted itself in the process, provided all consulting parties with sufficient information and constructively engaged with a view to reaching consensus on all the consultations”, it said.

The cash-strapped broadcaster acknowledged that the retrenchment process was difficult for all stakeholders and emotionally charged at times.

“The extended process also created prolonged uncertainty. However, it was a necessary part of the SABC’s turnaround plan to reposition the public broadcaster, ensure its stability and financial sustainability and allow the SABC to execute its public mandate to serve all the people of South Africa in all our languages and across all platforms.”

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