South Africa’s public broadcaster, the SABC, is contemplating implementing section 189 of the Labour Relations Act. This section permits employers to dismiss employees for operational requirements. These are defined as requirements based on economic, technological, structural or similar needs of the employer.
The broadcaster met with organised labour yesterday to inform them of their intentions.
In an emailed statement, the SABC said, “This forms part of the cost cutting measures, which includes the assessment of key cost drivers, in order to make the organisation financially sustainable and fit for purpose.”
SABC’s group chief executive officer, Madoda Mxakwe met with and addressed staff today, communicating the dire financial state the organisation finds itself in.
Mxakwe explained, “The SABC has had a demanding financial year with total revenue of R6.6 billion against a budget of R7.3 billion, resulting in an under-performance of R709 million (10%). The SABC had a net loss of R622 million for the 2017/18 financial year.”
The statement added, “One of the SABC’s biggest cost drivers is the salary bill. To put this into context, the SABC is a R7.2 billion revenue generating company with a salary bill of R3.1 billion. The current ratio of venue to wage bill is not sustainable given the SABC’s dismal financial situation. It is for this reason that the SABC is contemplating other cost cutting measures to further reduce costs.”
The next step is for the SABC to engage in joint consensus seeking consultations with organised labour.