The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has announced on Thursday 18 June that they will begin the process of retrenching some 600 employees, as journalists all over South African media industry come under increasing pressure.
The public broadcaster said it met with representatives of organised labour where they were issued with a Section 189 notice.
EMPLOYEES ENCOURAGED TO MAKE REPRESENTATIONS
In a statement released by the SABC, they said that employees affected would be encouraged to make representations over the course of a consultation period.
“The notice of redundancy will impact approximately 600 employees and these affected employees will be invited to make representations during a consultation process which will be facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration,”
“Organised labour as well as representatives of the non-unionised employees will be consulted within a meaningful joint consensus seeking process as mandated by Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.”
“This is to ensure full transparency, accountability and impartiality in terms of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995.”
SABC WOES CONTINUE
The SABC has been under financial hardship for the better part of a decade, and Government allocated R3.2 billion to the broadcaster in 2019/20.
Despite this bailout, belt-tightening remains requisite, and they launched the Target Operating Model earlier in 2020 which aims to keep the broadcast financially sustainable, but at the cost of a large volume of employees.
“The SABC has a duty to ensure the continued viability of the corporation so that it may fulfil its public mandate and effectively serve the millions of South Africans who rely on it for education, information and entertainment,” it said.
JOURNALISTS FACING INCREASED RISK OF UNEMPLOYMENT
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant a loss of employment for hundreds of South African journalists, despite an enormous increase in online traffic to credible sites.
A report issued by the South African News Editors Forum (SANEF) reported that 300 journalists became unemployed when major publishers Caxton and Associated Media Publishing (AMP) shut their doors and several publications.
“The crisis brought on by the COVID-19 lockdowns has pushed over the edge operations that were imperilled or survivalist, and arguably have highlighted fissures in the news media industry,” the report said.
“How well the news media will emerge from the crisis will depend on the speed of the economic recovery and the attendant increase in advertising revenue. The outlook for the economy is that it will shrink by at least 6% and 16% in the worst-case scenario, the biggest economic contraction in South Africa’s history.
Best case is a sharp, short recession followed by a sharp, short recovery,” the report stated.