SA broadcasting workers to strike against ‘jobs bloodbath’

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Workers at the South African Broadcasting Corporation protest against privatisation and sackings

SOUTH AFRICA’s CWU (Communication Workers Union) and BEMAWU (Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union) are organising for a full blown strike against the jobs bloodbath which is planned by the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation).

The CWU said in a statement on Monday that it will be ‘mobilising and galvanising the SABC workers for action’.
It said, too, that it will report the SABC ‘bosses’ to the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications and to the ministry of communications & digital technologies.
The CWU said it is calling on ‘all oversight structures in government and parliament to regain control over rogue SABC executives who have consistently shown them the proverbial middle finger as they continued to unapologetically plunge the SABC into a jobs bloodbath by circumventing the ability of the unions to fully engage with information in order to come out with alternatives.’
It called for the resignation of the board and the executive management team for ‘deliberately misleading the South African public, parliament, the minister (Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams) and the deputy minister of the department (Pinky Kekana).’
The SABC has been in consultation with workers’ representatives over the past four months over its plans to sack around 600 full-time employees.
CWU said: ‘There are quite a number of proposals that we are discussing, amongst others is a full blown strike in alliance with Bemawu. We are planning to question the fairness because this has been unfair.’
The CWU’s Nathan Bowes said: ‘Let us first say that we are disappointed that the SABC has walked out of the consultation on Friday and finally they pulled a plug on us.
‘It was quite clear that we were denied the opportunity to get communication and questions and to ask for further information.
‘There’s quite a number of proposals that we are discussing, amongst others is a full-blown strike in alliance with Bemawu.
‘We are planning to question the fairness because this has been unfair.’
Meanwhile, Bemawu threatened to take legal action at the Labour Court against the SABC should it proceed with its retrenchments without further consultation.
Bemawu spokesperson Hannes du Buisson said: ‘Should the SABC proceed with its threat to implement the section 189 process unilaterally, Bemawu will not hesitate to bring an urgent application to stop the SABC.
‘The SABC has made certain undertakings and there was an agreement that was done under the auspices of the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) and by law, they’re required to adhere to and honour that agreement.’

  • The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the Kimberley Region has declared a wage dispute with Assmang Operations in the Northern Cape.

This is after the NUM failed to reach a wage settlement with the company after the intensified engagement, four months ago.
Assmang supplies raw material to the world’s steel mills and alloy plants.
It was originally listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange as The Associated Manganese Mines of South Africa Limited, but changed its name to Assmang Limited on 30 May 2001.
It was clear from the word go that the company was not serious in engaging the NUM in this year wages negotiations.
A meeting was held virtually although there was plenty of accommodation which could have been used without compromising our health and safety.
Cornelius Manhe, NUM Kimberley Regional Secretary, said: ‘What puzzles the union was the utterance from the company’s chief negotiator that they are not negotiating with us, they are giving us what they have.
‘This is very insulting and offensive because this year is the year of wage negotiations.
‘Previously we signed a three-year wage agreement, this time around due to Covid-19, the mandate is to negotiate a one-year wage agreement.
‘The NUM demand at Assmang initially was 15% across the board, however, as a mature union, we are currently on 9% for B Band and 7.5% for C Band.
‘Even after this progressive move by NUM the company was still adamant that they would only offer 5.4% across the board.
‘The said percentage is an insult to our members, especially those who are at a lower level,’ said Manhe.
‘The NUM referred the dispute to the CCMA, at some point in time our case was closed for no reason.
‘It is only after we wrote the letter to CCMA Senior commissioner that our matter was reinstated.
‘The matter is scheduled for conciliation today (20 October 2020) at the CCMA and our members are very angry because the company has no intention of settling the matter.
‘This company is very arrogant; they refused a meeting with us which was going to be more effective for both parties and they also refused to sign the picketing rules,’ Manhe said.
The NUM is currently involved in a mobilisation process amongst its members, preparing them for a protected strike.

  • The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) together with the human rights organisation, #Africa4Palestine has warned the University of the Free State (UFS) that it will launch a massive protest action outside all entrances unless it immediately terminates its working agreement with Israel’s Haifa University.

The university has been given seven days (from last Thursday) to respond.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) said: ‘For decades, Israeli universities have played a key role in planning, implementing and justifying Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies, while maintaining a uniquely close relationship with the Israeli military.
‘They are involved in developing weapon systems and military doctrines deployed in Israel’s war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza, justifying the ongoing colonisation of Palestinian land, rationalising gradual ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians, providing moral justification for extra-judicial killings, systematically discriminating against “non-Jewish” students, and other implicit and explicit violations of human rights and international law.
‘Any activity that is in collaboration with Israel and its Universities is directly supporting the regime against the people of Palestine.’
COSATU has appealed to the University of Free State to terminate its Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Haifa, and to review all other ties with apartheid Israel.
‘We further give the University 7 days, from today (Thursday 15th October), to cancel the MOU.
‘Failure by the university to cancel this (agreement) will leave us with no choice but to picket at the university entrances as a demonstration of our displeasure.
“‘COSATU and its affiliates, led by its leaders in the Free State together with Africa4Palestine will embark on this protest action, and organise further campaigns to ensure that the agreement is cancelled.
‘We have previously successfully partnered before on ensuring that the University of Johannesburg ended its relations with Apartheid Israel, and with Tshwane University of Technology also backing the academic boycott of Israel.
‘Branches of the Free State province have correctly indicated that South African universities should take heed from the people of our country and break away from its past of being known as a stooge of reactionary forces.
‘UFS should take heed of the Minister of Higher Education who has previously called on all South African Universities to have no ties with Israel.
‘UFS should heed the South Africa government positions of having downgraded relations with Israel and of having removed our Ambassador from that oppressive regime.
‘Our leaders and our members have always been resolute in our international solidarity.
‘Our freedom in South Africa, and the end of apartheid was only possible because the people of the world mobilised in our support during the 1980s.
‘The peace-loving people of the world made our struggle their struggle.
‘Workers of the world united with South African workers because of the realisation that “an injury to one is an injury to all”, that the struggle for worker rights is intertwined with the struggle for a better, more just and peaceful world which includes a world free of apartheid regimes such as Israel’, the statement said.