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STRIKE FAQ’S

We have received questions in respect of the looming strike at the SABC. We will attempt to answer those questions as comprehensively as possible. For more questions, please post in comments.

AM I FORCED/COMPELLED TO STRIKE?

Absolutely not. It is a democratic choice, and no-one may or will compel or force you to strike. If you do not support the demands or you don’t want any salary increase, you don’t have to strike.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE STRIKE?

Every union member and every employee of the SABC can participate in the strike and will be protected. This include employees on middle management and non-unionized employees.

MUST EMPLOYEES WHO ARE NOT PART OF A UNION GIVE NOTICE?

No. The Constitutional Court in SATAWU v Moloto ruled there is no requirement for individual members who wants to participate in a strike to give notice. All is required is a notice must be issued 48 hours before the commencement of the strike, and it need not specify precisely which employees will participate in the strike.

WILL THERE BE ANY VIOLENCE/INTIMIDATION IF THE STRIKE CONTINUES?

Absolutely not. We do not believe in violence and intimidation. Members coming to work will not be intimidated or harassed. If every employee simply withhold his or her labour, staying away from work for one or more days, will be super effective and the strike will end quickly.

IF I DO NOT SUPPORT THE STRIKE, MUST I RESIGN FROM THE UNION?

No, you don’t have to. In any event, a member must give one (1) calendar month notice. By the time your resignation is effective, the strike, if there will be one, will be over.

WILL AN INCRESE, IF ANY, ONLY BE GIVEN TO UNION MEMBERS?

This is certainly an approach we will take. In particular at this time where the SABC is in a difficult situation. We believe we will be able to quickly get out of the financial mess, as the SABC has the potential to generate revenue fast, with the correct leadership.

ARE WE NOT UNREASONABLE TO DEMAND 10% AND CALL A STRIKE?

You, the members gave us that mandate. We do not believe it’s unreasonable to demand an increase. We are a service provider, and a very important one too. If Isidingo is not getting paid, there will be nothing on air. If the SABC does not pay it’s electricity, there will be no broadcast. Freelancers received a 6% increase. Its only loyal, hardworking employees who received …nothing.

WHAT WOULD BE THE EFFECT ON ME, AS A WORKER WHEN I GO ON STRIKE?

It will be a protected strike, and you may not be dismissed or prejudiced for participating. A strike is on a basis of no work, no pay. Should it be effective, part of the negotiations to stop a strike could be to pay striking employees. The more employees participating, the shorter and more effective it will be. For every day you not working, you will not get paid. You must decide whether sacrificing one or more day’s pay for a salary increase is worth it.

WHAT WOULD POTENTIALLY BE THE CONSEQUENCES IF WE DO NOT PROCEED WITH A STRIKE?

You may receive no increase next year too. If you are not prepared to fight for an increase now, why would you ever be prepared to do so? So what will then be next? Not paying your 13th Cheque? Taking away your Medical Aid or reducing their contribution, stopping their contribution to your pension fund, your post-retirement medical aid? Reducing leave? Who knows.

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YOUR GUIDE TO A PROTECTED STRIKE

To Strike is a Constitutional Right

Every worker has the right to strike, and every employer has the option to lock out workers, if –
  1. a dispute has been referred to a council or the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA);
  2. a certificate that a dispute remains unresolved has been issued;
  3. 30 days have elapsed since the referral; and
  4. 48 hours’ written notice of a strike is given to
    a. the employer; or
    b. a council (if the dispute relates to a collective agreement to be concluded in a council); or
    c. to an employers’ organisation (if the employer is a member of an organisation that is a party to the dispute); or
  5. 48 hours’ written notice of a lockout is given to
    a. the trade union; or
    b. to the workers (if they are not trade union members); or
    c. a council (if the dispute relates to a collective agreement to be concluded in a council).

Workers’ Rights

During legal strikes workers may not –
  • be dismissed; or
  • have civil legal proceedings brought against them.

Employers’ Rights

During legal strikes employers –
  • do not have to pay workers, unless workers ask that payment in kind (accommodation, food, basic amenities) be continued; and
  • may fairly dismiss a worker for misconduct or for operational needs.

PROTECTED STRIKE

The term “protected” strike action refers to a lawful strike which is in compliance with the requirements of the Labour Relations Act 1995 (“LRA”).

The effect of embarking on protected strike action is that no employee may be dismissed by reason of their participation in the strike, nor do they commit a breach of their contracts of employment by participating in protected strike action.

The first procedural requirement is a mandatory referral of “the issue in dispute” to the CCMA which results in a conciliation meeting between the parties. The purpose of conciliation is an attempt to settle the dispute, with the assistance of an appointed CCMA Commissioner. If the dispute is settled at conciliation, strike action is averted.

If however conciliation is unsuccessful, the CCMA issues a certificate stating that the issue in dispute remains unresolved. It is this certificate which is the second procedural requirement of protected strike action in terms of the LRA.

If 30 days has lapsed, no certificate is needed.

In this instance, no certificate was issued, but the 30 days has lapsed. This was confirmed by the Acting Senior Commissioner, Collective Bargaining at the CCMA:

From: Shimane Kgantse [mailto:shimanek@CCMA.org.za]
Sent: Friday, October 27, 2017 12:00 PM
To: booysen.mashego@yahoo.com
Cc: headoffice@bemawu.org.za; mogalanet@gmail.com; Boitumelo Fatane <BoitumeloF@CCMA.org.za>
Subject: FW: GAJB20270-17

Dear Mr Booysen

Thank you for your mail.

The view of the Commissioner Madubanya who facilitated the wage dispute is that she did not get an opportunity to mediate over the dispute. We are mindful that legally there’s nothing precluding the Trade from embarking on a protected strike since thirty days has lapsed from the date of the referral. We however request you indulgence and provide us with an opportunity to have a mediated session with the parties before exercising your rights.

Looking forward to your positive response.

Regards

Shimane Kgantse

Acting Senior Commissioner Collective Bargaining

Thirdly, any person and/ or union who, after the issuing of a certificate by the CCMA, wishes to go out on strike must give an employer at least 48 hours advance notice of the intended strike action.

Provided these three procedural requirements are complied with, the strike is deemed to be protected in terms of the LRA.

STRIKE NOTICE ISSUED

Strike Notice 2017

Further communication will follow to inform all members about the plan of action. 

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CCMA TO MEDIATE IN SABC STRIKE

Unions at the SABC (BEMAWU & CWU) have agreed to delay the issuing of a strike notice until Monday,  30 October 2017 for a strike at the Public Broadcaster  to afford the CCMA an opportunity to mediate between the parties.

This decision comes after the CCMA on Friday made the request to the unions.

In an email to the unions, Acting Senior Commissioner of Collective Bargaining at the CCMA, Shimane Kgantse wrote:

The view of the Commissioner Madubanya who facilitated the wage dispute is that she did not get an opportunity to mediate over the dispute. We are mindful that legally there’s nothing precluding the Trade [unions] from embarking on a protected strike since thirty days has lapsed from the date of the referral. We however request you indulgence and provide us with an opportunity to have a mediated session with the parties before exercising your rights.

Due to this request, and also then to afford the full Board the opportunity it has requested in our last meeting, to meet and consider the demands of the unions, the strike will not proceed on Monday, but after the 48 hours notice has lapsed, which will be served on the SABC on Monday.

This will afford the CCMA the opportunity to mediate between the parties, and for the Board to inform employees what they have decided. At the meeting between the Board and unions, the delegation of the Board indicated they want to open negotiations with the unions, and the understanding was, by opening negotiations, the SABC will move from their 0% offer.

We believe the decision to only serve notice on Monday to afford the parties to meet in one last final attempt to avoid a full blown strike  at the Public Broadcaster is the correct one, in the best interest of our members and the Broadcaster and is reasonable. This also demonstrates our commitment to have a cordial working relationship with the Board, and to heal and restore the dignity of the Public Broadcaster.

In the strike ballot done by BEMAWU, 89% of its members voted in favour of a strike.

CCMA LETTER

From: Shimane Kgantse [mailto:shimanek@CCMA.org.za]
Sent: Friday, October 27, 2017 12:00 PM
To: booysen.mashego@yahoo.com
Cc: headoffice@bemawu.org.za; mogalanet@gmail.com; Boitumelo Fatane <BoitumeloF@CCMA.org.za>

Dear Mr Booysen

Thank you for your mail.

The view of the Commissioner Madubanya who facilitated the wage dispute is that she did not get an opportunity to mediate over the dispute. We are mindful that legally there’s nothing precluding the Trade from embarking on a protected strike since thirty days has lapsed from the date of the referral. We however request you indulgence and provide us with an opportunity to have a mediated session with the parties before exercising your rights.

Looking forward to your positive response.

Regards

Shimane Kgantse

Acting Senior Commissioner Collective Bargaining
Telephone: +27113776733

Fax2Email:   086 506 9557

Call Centre: 0861 16 16 16 | Website: http://www.ccma.org.za

SENZ’UMEHLUKO – MAKING A DIFFERENCE

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ANOTHER VICTORY FOR A FREE SABC!

The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is by far the most influential and dominant news source in South Africa.

Any political party (or faction of a political party) who gains control of the SABC would be able to manipulate public opinion through the SABC. In such circumstances it would be impossible to conduct a free and fair election. It is therefore surprising that the judgment handed down last week, in which the High Court struck down efforts by the government to interfere in the management of the SABC, did not attract more attention.

In a capitalist state without a well-functioning public broadcaster, the right to freedom of expression and to free and fair elections will remain an empty and unreachable promise. As the Constitutional Court noted in Khumalo and Others v Holomisa:

The print, broadcast and electronic media have a particular role in the protection of freedom of expression in our society. Every citizen has the right to freedom of the press and the media and the right to receive information and ideas. The media are key agents in ensuring that these aspects of the right to freedom of information are respected. The ability of each citizen to be a responsible and effective member of our society depends upon the manner in which the media carry out their constitutional mandate.

Last week the Gauteng Local Division of the High Court in the case of S.O.S. Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and Others v South African Broadcasting Corporation and Others confirmed the importance of the SABC in fulfilling this role. In a ringing judgment (written by Matojane J) the court held that the right of everyone to freedom of expression and the right to vote (read with the Broadcasting Act and the SABC Charter) means the SABC is required “to ensure that members of the public have access to accurate, neutral and pluralistic information”.

The SABC must also provide “coverage of significant news and public affairs programming which meets the highest standards of journalism, as well as fair and unbiased coverage, impartiality, balance and independence from government, commercial and other interests”. Moreover:

The SABC as a public service broadcaster must promote alternative views to encourage debate that is vital to the functioning of democracy. A Healthy democracy requires that the public be able to discuss, share and receive information relating to political, social and cultural matters affecting their lives. The public broadcaster plays a crucial role in strengthening democracy and democratic governance by ensuring that the general public, in particular, those with neither political nor economic influence or power, have access to a broad spectrum of views on issues of public concern.

The judgment also confirms that the SABC performs a watchdog function “by investigating and reporting on the maladministration, abuses of power and corruption as these are matters of [public interest”

For the full article, go here https://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/sabc-what-the-high-court-said-about-its-independence-and-how-it-will-limit-government-interference/

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Protected: MEETING BETWEEN LABOUR AND SABC BOARD

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MEETING WITH DELEGATION OF THE SABC BOARD

Kindly note organized labour will meet with the AGCEO and a delegation of the Board today at 12:30. A feedback meeting will take place immediately thereafter at 14.00 – 14.30, K1 Auditorium.

Regions will be linked up.

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WEDNESDAY MEETING CONFIRMED |SABC

Meeting with SABC and delegation of Board confirmed for Wednesday.

We sincerely hope our demands will be met.

Letter from SABC:

Dear Sirs

We refer to the above matter and the meeting held on Thursday, 19 October 2017 with the Acting GCEO, Ms Nomsa Philiso (“AGCEO”) refers.

The AGCEO and the delegation of the SABC Board cordially invite you to attend a feedback meeting to be held as set out below.

The details of the meeting are as follows:-

Date            : 25 October 2017

Venue           : 28th Floor boardroom, Radio Park

Time            : 12h30 – 13h30

Your attendance at the meeting will be highly appreciated.

 

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POSSIBLE STRIKE AT SABC DELAYED TILL NEXT WEEK

​​Organised Labour at the SABC met with the Acting GCEO, Nomsa Philiso on 19 October 2017.

It was a cordial meeting and Philiso briefed Labour on the current situation the SABC finds itself in. Some of the demands in our 13 October were met, and on others Philiso will give feedback at the latest Wednesday, 25 October 2017.

Philiso confirmed the following important issues:

  • SABC Employees WILL receive their 13th Cheques  in December. (This was negotiated by SABC Unions many years ago, and became part of terms and conditions of employment)
  • There are no retrenchments on the cards.
  • She will meet with the new Chairperson of the Board over the weekend and with the new Minister on Monday to discuss the salary increase demand, and will revert to us latest Wednesday.
  • The PSC (Public Service Commission) is already busy investigating the unprocedural appointments.  There are 33 action points to deal with. We requested to be observers in that process and see the terms of reference. We await feedback from Philiso.
  • The SIU has started with their investigations in respect of  criminal and financial issues.
  • Forensic audit is busy investigating the Protest Policy.
  • A monthly meeting with Labour and her office for at least the following six months will take place to exchange ideas and give feedback in respect of progress.
  • In respect of the merger between Henley & News, she will investigate why it has not completely happened.
  • In respect of the unprocedurally published shift roster for News Staff by a manager of a different department, she will revert in the next few days. She confirmed it is absolute nonsense that a manager’s contract will prevent him, if acting to compile and publish shift rosters as alleged by NEWS MANAGEMENT. In respect of the Acting Head of News, we questioned the secondment from Makatees from Cape Town. We pointed out, whilst the SABC is claiming to be insolvent, they spending money on travel and accommodation for Makatees, whilst the job can be done by people in Johannesburg. She undertook to investigate.

Feedback were given to members in K1 Auditorium, Johannesburg SABC and the Regions via rediffusion.

The Auditorium was packed and and number of members had to stand outside, as there was no space inside. Employees were  ready to go on strike, and the unanimous decision was if the SABC is going to persist with a zero percent increase by 25 October, they will proceed with a strike.

More updates will follow.

Here under a short video of the attendance.  (Apologies for the sound)

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LETTER OF DEMAND | SABC

JOINT LABOUR COMMUNIQUE

TO:

The Acting Group Chief Executive

Ms Nomsa Philiso

SABC

JOHANNESBURG

URGENT

Dear Madam,

We write this letter to you with sincere and extreme urgency, with the hope and belief you would be able to address, with the same urgency our concerns and demands.

The SABC has been plagued by bad management, bad managerial decisions costing the Public Broadcaster a deficit of more than a Billion Rand, bad publicity caused by the Board, Chairperson of the Board and Top Management.

We have been subjected to management by threats and fear, unilateral restructurings, change of work practices and shift roster, appointments without advertising positions and a zero-percentage increase.

Most of the enforcers who was responsible for the Protest Policy and the subsequent dismissal of the SABC journalists opposed to this are still employed, at lucrative salaries at the SABC. For them its business as usual, and they have escaped justice.

To the contrary, employees who has done nothing wrong and always served the SABC with diligence and loyalty, were kicked out by not renewing their contracts.

As you are acutely aware, these issues are of extreme discomfort, concern and unhappiness to employees at the SABC.

BEMAWU and other employees has brought these issues to the attention of Parliament and Management, and there seems to be no progress, commitment or will to address and resolve these issues.

In the meantime, the SABC is slipping deeper into insolvency, to the extent that it endangers the employment, wellbeing, and health of our members.

It is our view the SABC is still captured by politicians – more than ever – and we cannot sit back to allow this to happen.

Employees at the SABC have not received a salary increase, and rumours are rife our contractual 13th Cheques are in danger and may not be paid on 1 December.

We therefore demand the following:

  1. The immediate appointment of the Board already selected and recommended by Parliament,
  2. The immediate suspension of all the enforcers of the Protest Policy which resulted in the dismissal of the SABC 8, to wit
    • Kenneth Makatees,
    • Nothando Maseko,
    • Nyana Molete,
    • Sebolelo Ditlhakanyane,
  3. Furthermore, all the unprocedurally appointed managers and/or people who supported the system to either enforce the Protest Policy, contributed to the poor financial position of the SABC, defending same publicly or legally, neglect to act when policies and procedures were not followed, and did not report irregularities when they became aware of same:
    • Tshifhiwa Mulaudzi – GE, Sales & Marketing clearly not competent to motivate the Sales Teams
    • Abdul Matthee – Responsible for the loss in Millions due to the Landmark system
    • Keobokile Mosweu
    • Sizwe Vilikazi
    • Bessie Tugwana
    • Tseliso Ralitabo
    • Ayanda Mkhize
    • Theresa Geldenhuys
  4. The status quo in respect of structural changes, work patterns and hours of employees, in particular in News, until a new Board is in office, and employees be properly consulted,
  5. The full and unconditional restoration of the merger between Henley and News, with no change in reporting lines and work practices, without full and proper consultation with employees, and only after a new Board has been appointed,
  6. A salary increase of 10% across the board, backdated to April 2017.
  7. The appointment of all workers previously on Fixed Term Contracts at News, whose contracts has not been renewed as Fixed Term, but as Freelance Contracts, or not at all.
  8. The removal of Kenneth Makatees as Acting Head of News, to be replaced by a non-enforcer nominated from the competent News Staff in Johannesburg,
  9. The redeployment of Themba Mathonsi to a different department, where he is not required to work with subordinates, as he is unfit to manage employees. Employees are tired of his Gestapo style of management.
  10. We demand a full investigation regarding the protest policy and the report should be made public.
  11. An investigation at SABC Sport in respect of the non-renewal of contracts, the redeployment of admin people in operational roles under disguise to develop them, the appointment of freelancers to act in permanent positions.
  12. An investigation into the appointment of Bessie Tugwana as the Acting COO, in particular as she has reached retirement age, and allegations of her employing friends.
  13. The renewal of the contract of Keobokile Mosweu, an alleged enforcer of Motsoeneng to be investigated and reversed.

Should these demands not be met in seven (7) days, excluding the unilateral change to the shift roster of News Staff, from date of this letter, Labour will file a dispute and ballot its members to seek a mandate for a protected strike.

In respect of the unilateral change to shift patterns and working conditions, a separate letter will follow.

We await your most urgent response.

Sincerely

Organised Labour at the SABC

(BEMAWU & CWU)

 

STRIKE LETTER FINAL

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SABC MUST RECOGNISE MINORITY RIGHTS AND CULTURES

The following letter was sent to the SABC to request paid time off for Hindu employees at the SABC.

Dear Sirs,

This issue has been raised before, as we hereby do again.

Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere).

It is an official holiday in FijiGuyanaIndiaMalaysiaMauritiusMyanmarNepalSingaporeSri LankaSurinameTrinidad and Tobago, and Sindh Province in Pakistan. One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.  Its celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed.

The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika in Bikram Sambat calendar (the month of Aippasi in Tamil Calendar). In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.

Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, people dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi – the goddess of fertility and prosperity. After puja, fireworks follow, then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Deepavali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.

This is similar to Christmas for Christians. This year DIWALI starts on 18 October 2017.

This serves as a request that Hindu employees be granted paid time off to celebrate DIWALI. It furthermore serves as a request to amend the Leave Policy to incorporate this period as paid time off, in particular in recognition and protection of minority rights and cultures in South Africa.

We await your urgent response.

Sincerely,

BEMAWU