The Board’s decision to suspend the S189 process for seven days is aimed at derailing the multi-pronged action in progress and is not a genuine attempt to address the lack of consultation and resistance to laying off workers at the SABC.
The SABC is currently faced with an urgent interdict application in the Labour Court set down for next Friday on the urgent roll and strike action by the CWU, with full tactical support by BEMAWU.
The en-masse dismissal of workers at the SABC is also opposed by political parties, trade union federations and public organisations.
Dismissal letters were issued this week, terminating the services of more than 400 workers employees by 31 December 2020.
The SABC issued S189 notices on 18 June 2020 after it terminated its S189 process in 2019, saying it will not renew the S189 notices (process).
BEMAWU will however NOT remove its urgent application from the Labour Court roll.
Suspending the S189 process for seven days, but not withdrawing the termination letters means nothing. In fact, it is more prejudicial to employees, as the clock is ticking towards 31 December 2020.
The SABC has issued termination letters after a defective consultation process. Suspending the process for seven days does not cure the defective process and its misplaced rationale.
All termination letters must be withdrawn and the SABC must return to the table to properly and meaningfully consult.
The SABC must first fix what they have identified as wrong before deciding to embark on a S189 process.
The SABC has cited the following reasons for its decision to embark on the S189 process:
1. The SABC not having an adequate online value proposition;
2. Poor sales effectiveness (due to not having am adequate online value proposition;
3. Ineffective commercial product packaging;
4. Old, uncompetitive pricing models;
5. Inadequate technology infrastructure;
6. A lack of requisite skills;
7. Inefficient business processes
In its paragraph 3 of its S189 Notice issued on 18 June 2020, the SABC said “As a result of the reasons outlined above, the SABC is currently contemplating a process of restructuring…”
In its proposed structure, the SABC has INCREASED positions on Scale code 120, that have not been there before, in divisions like Commercial Enterprise.
In other divisions the SABC opted to convert permanent staff to freelancers, and/or outsourcing (S197).
This is an artificial and misleading exercise.
By converting permanent employees to freelancers and outsourcing functions, does not reduce the headcount, and cost. It simply moves it from the permanent staff salary account to a different expense account.
It furthermore deprives employees from benefits they have worked for for their entire lives.
We know the SABC has been exploiting freelance workers for many years. By replacing its permanent staff with freelancers is doing so even more.
Freelancers does not have benefits like leave, sick leave, UIF, Medical Aid and Pension. It means being sick or going on leave is on a no-pay basis.
The S189 process must stop in its entirety.