The SABC and unions have entered conciliation talks at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) as strike action at the SABC continues a day ahead of the ANC elective conference.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago has confirmed that staff members are still picketing outside the SABC but that, despite this, programmes have not been disrupted.
The strike action on Thursday saw three of the public broadcasters radio stations being affected. The SABC maintains that each station was only affected when they failed to put out a current affairs programme, and that it was therefore only affected for an hour during the day.
In a statement released by the minister of communications, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, she called on on all stakeholders to engage in a “peaceful and constructive wage negotiations”.
Kganyago stated that the SABC received reports of intimidation by workers who reported for duty by striking staff members. However, the unions have also complained that some of their members feel intimidated by managers at the SABC to not partake in the strike activities.
According to Kganyago, no disciplinary charges have been laid against workers. He reiterated the SABC’s stance on the matter: “Everybody has the right to strike but you must respect the rights of those who are not striking also.”
The SABC remains positive that they will be able to broadcast the elective conference without disruptions despite the ongoing strike action. Kganyago said that the SABC managed to broadcast its Morning Live programmes from Nasrec for the past two days.
The strike follows wage disputes between two unions, the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) and the Communication Workers Union (CWU), and the SABC.
The SABC offered its employees a 4.5% increase in salaries for the current financial year, while unions are not willing to settle for anything less than inflation — a demand the SABC says it is not financially able to meet.