Broadcasting Services

South Africa: Union Drags Public Broadcaster To Court - Again!

The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) has claimed to be taking the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) to Court over unfair procedures and autonomous unfairness during SABC’s retrenchment process. SABC’s retrenchment process saw over 600 employees retrenched as part of the restructuring process, which took place in March 2021.

BEMAWU wrote a letter to the public broadcaster which highlighted its dispute of the Section 189 process conducted by the SABC, which led to the retrenchment of over 600 workers. According to reports, the letter also stressed that the dispute is not only in terms of the procedure followed but also the autonomous unfairness used during the selection criteria. Unfair requirements characterised set jobs, unfair interview processes and unfair and unreasonable deadlines, said the union. Furthermore, the union argued that the staff was unfairly excluded from applying for specific jobs while the SABC was rehiring people to person duties that were declared redundant.

Mmoni Seapolelo, the SABC’s spokesperson, said that the court judgements against BEMAWU had validated the corporation’s Section 189 process as being fair. Also, the SABC is not aware of BEMAWU’s latest declaration of dispute against the corporation, said Seapolelo.  The SABC is satisfied that the process taken can withstand legal scrutiny as confirmed by three court judgments, she added.

According to reports, BEMAWU President Hannes du Buisson confirmed the declaration that BEMAWU is heading to Court. However, the SABC has denied any knowledge of a new court case, stating that the Labour Court has dismissed BEMAWU on numerous occasions. The Court’s rulings stated that there are no reasonable prospects that another court would come to a different conclusion, said Seapolelo.

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