SABC must immediately stop planned retrenchments, BEMAWU argues in court

South Africa

Johannesburg – Lawyers for the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) on Friday said the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) must immediately stop the planned retrenchments and allow proper consultation.

Bemawu has brought an urgent application to the Labour Court in Braamfontein in an attempt to stop the retrenchment process involving about 400 employees as part of restructuring process.

Earlier, the public broadcaster issued notices of retrenchment but has since put the process on hold until the end of the year.

The Labour Court has heard how the SABC is acting in bad faith and not allowing meaningful consultation between unions and management.

Lawyer for Bemawu Omphemetse Mooki said it was not enough that the public broadcaster suspended the retrenchment process as it could not be trusted.

“How can the SABC consult with an open mind when members have a sword hanging on their heads in the form of termination letters, which no doubt come the end of December, will be reissued.”

As the same time, lawyer for the SABC Nazeer Cassim said the court should disregard the applicant’s argument, saying his client is being kind by suspending the retrenchment the process.

“Unfortunately, in this country, kindness is interpreted to be a weakness. Some have even said, if you do bad things then you will be rewarded.”

Bemawu is seeking an order that will force the SABC to stop retrenchments and engage in fairly with the workers.

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