JOHANNESBURG: The Communication Workers Union (CWU) expects hundreds of its members at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to wear black on Wednesday as part of the build-up to a shutdown on Friday.
Unions are fighting back against planned retrenchments at the public broadcaster.
Some 981 permanent staff and over 1,000 freelancers are expected to be left out in the cold as a cash-strapped SABC tries to restructure and claw itself back from financial disaster.
The SABC said last week it would approach the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for assistance with the process.
The CWU’s Aubrey Tshabalala says: “We experienced that the SABC management is wanting to forge ahead with the mass retrenchments on mass dismissal of workers without even giving an ear to alternative views that we’ve as labour [sic]. So, the basis of that is that they showed no sensitivity around the matter.”
Meanwhile, the South African Communist Party (SACP) has warned the African National Congress (ANC) that should retrenchments go ahead at the SABC and other government entities, it could cost the ANC a chunk of the workers’ votes.
The SACP hosted its annual Red October rally on Sunday in Nyanga, joined by its alliance partners in the province.
The focus for the 2018/2019 Red October campaign is local government under the theme “stop corruption, serve the people selflessly”.
Western Cape SACP secretary Benson Ngqentsu said the announcements of retrenchments by various organisations, including the SABC and the mining sector, will provoke workers to use the ballot box to fight back.
“We want to remind them that 70% of workers, employed or unemployed, are the people who are the biggest voters of the ANC. If you want to anger workers, good luck.”
SACP first deputy secretary general Solly Mapaila said the SABC needs to reverse its decision.
“There is no need at the moment or any other moment to retrench workers at the SABC.”
The SACP also warned the ANC not to sideline it.