Two media workers’ unions are embroiled in a spat over a recent ruling by the CCMA compelling the SABC to “design and implement a new sales commission scheme within six months”.
The Media Workers Association of South Africa (MWASA) and the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) are at odds over a case brought before the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
MWASA says the current sales commission scheme has been in contention for over six years. “The scheme is reviled because it seems to penalise performance and seems to benefit many who actually do not contribute to the meeting of sales targets. It is understood as well that the scheme also pays out former staff who no longer work in the division,” the union said in a statement.
It said the CCMA “ordered” that the SABC must ensure full participation of staff in the process of designing the new scheme that must be implemented at the beginning of December 2013. “This puts paid to years of ad hoc and clandestine reviews of the scheme and continued penalisation of high performing sales staff where their colleagues posted low target achievements,” MWASA said.
But BEMAWU replied that MWASA’s position was “incorrect and misleading”. At the heart of its argument is that the SABC cannot be “ordered” to implement the scheme.
“A refusal to bargain dispute is an interest based dispute. The outcome of such a dispute can never be an order! If the dispute is not settled the Applicant can resort to industrial action. That’s all. No order can be made, unless there is a jurisdictional issue. What in fact transpired was that the SABC agreed to design and implement a new commission scheme – a process they were in any event busy with. BEMAWU will be part of that process and we will seek thorough input and participation from members involved,” said president Hannes du Buisson.
MWASA says the SABC’s sales division has been “plagued with resignations and discontent over the years and lack of decisive leadership at executive management has seen staff morale dip as performance in meeting and exceeding targets was not rewarded or accordingly incentivised”.
It says SABC executives have failed to address issues raised by staff, and that the CCMA’s ruling would prevent the “inevitable strike action which would have effectively brought the SABC to its knees”.
MWASA is in the process of “re-establishing” its relationship with the SABC. The broadcaster had terminated MWASA’s 2002 agreement on what it calls “the basis of an obsolete threshold requirement”. Now, with the CCMA, it is in the process of devising a new collective agreement “to mark the re-establishment of formal relations”.
BEMAWU says that as the SABC’s “recognised and registered trade union enjoying full organisational rights at the SABC” it would engage with members to explain the process and distribute the necessary documentation to enable members to give input in the new commission scheme.
“BEMAWU members can be assured of our continued commitment to do what we have been doing best – to protect, defend, represent and better their conditions of employment”.