Thursday, 27 November 2008


BEMAWU is the only independent trade union organised in the broadcasting and media industry. Any media worker serious about Independence will not join another trade union but BEMAWU. Whilst other unions may want to mislead you with all sorts of sweet talk, the proof of the pudding lies in the eating.

That is why employees want to cross the floor to BEMAWU the moment they are in need of proper representation.

Don't be mislead by frills and empty talk.... when it comes to action, NO OTHER UNION CAN BEAT BEMAWU!!!


Latest correspondence from SABC re Substantives

SABC Board will meet on 8-9 December 2008 were the employer will present the progress report to date on substantive negotiations. The employer proposes due to the holiday period coming soon that we convene Substantive Negotiations and determining the bargaining requirements for 2009 in the week 12-16 January 2008 for two (2) days.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Substantive Negotiations

We have received no further invitations from the SABC to conclude the substantive negotiations. Rumour has it that the Head of Labour Relations, Nthlaks has resigned. We have also heard rumours of retrenchment packages that will be offered to employees, but could not confirm it. We have not been informed by any SABC Official of such intention.

We are concerned about the state of the SABC. It appears from their financial statements that they have showed a surplus as a result of the Pension Fund surplus. If it was not for that, the SABC would have been R99M in the red.

We have been trying to get an appointment with the Acting Group CE, Mr Gab Mampone. He appears to be complete unapproachable and the only deduction we can make from this is that he is anti-union.

When we requested a meeting with him to discuss the SABC's financial situation, he wanted an agenda. When we told his office it's about the financial and general state of the SABC, we have not heard from him again.

So organised labour is out in the cold again!!!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

BEMAWU has won another case at the CCMA

BEMAWU has won another case at the CCMA.

Member Mr Steven Carlton worked for the SABC for several years on a fixed-term contract. These contracts were rolled-over very time it came to an end. At the end of his last contract he was offered a longer contract but for a total different, lower position. He rejected the contract on the basis of a reasonable expectation that his contract would be renewed on similar of better terms. The CCMA ruled in his favour and awarded him compensation.

This once again confirms that an employer cannot roll over contracts and then simply decide to terminate it. A fixed-term contract is primarily meant for non-permanent positions.

If you have been on a fixed-term/freelance contract for a number of years and you want it to be converted into permanent employment, contact us at

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Salary Negotiations Update 24 July 2008

We have accepted and signed an agreement with the SABC for the 11.5% increase only. BEMAWU will enter into discussions about the multi-term with the SABC soon. We will also discuss the issue where the SABC seeks to exclude members of BEMAWU above scale 300 from the annual salary increase (a principle the other two unions agreed to and signed that their members above scale 300 must be excluded). We do not believe it is fair.

Wednesday, 09 July 2008

Urgent Update

The SABC has once again succeeded to create mass confusion.

The General Secretary of MWASA and Chief Negotiator, Com Albert Malgoba has once again confirmed that he did not sign the salary agreement.

The so-called ballot by the SABC is utter bad faith and has no status.

We (and the SABC) has no control over the process as one person can vote more than once. It is clear that the SABC wants employees to accept their offer. Therefore they will report back that the majority of employees has voted in favour of the offer. There is absolutely no way we can control and verify their flawed voting process.


We have insisted in a letter to the Chief People's Officer that the SABC withdraws the so-called ballot with immediate effect.

Tuesday, 08 July 2008

Update on Salary Negotiations - 8 July 2008

The SABC is spreading rumours that some of the Unions has accepted the SABC Salary offer of 11.5% plus the multi-term.

It is false and misleading!

BEMAWU has NOT accepted the multi-term as members has voted (via this web site, sms and at the meeting) against it.

MWASA has NOT accepted the multi-term as I contacted MWASA yesterday and spoke to their Chief Negotiator and General Secretary, Com Albert Makgoba and he has assured me that MWASA has NOT accepted the SABC's offer.

Albert also assured me he had contact with the CWU and they have NOT signed and accepted the SABC's offer.

The offer being put on the table by the SABC, in terms of Percentage is not bad but is not an exceptional offer. Unions are settling on 12% currently without any multi-term.

The mandate we have received to date, via sms, this website and in the meeting is to accept the 11.5% but to reject the multi-term. If we accept the multi-term next year and the year thereafter you will automatically receive whatever CPIX of the previous year was plus 1%.

So if the CPIX at the time is sky-high and you are struggling to make ends meet, we will NOT be in a position to engage the SABC in negotiations for a better increase.

If the SABC has an exceptionally good year, which they will have as a result of 2010, we will NOT be able to approach the SABC for a better salary increase.

If bond interest rates sharply rise, (as it did this year and more than 100 000 has already lost their houses because they cannot afford the higher interest rate) we will NOT be in a position to approach the SABC for a better salary increase, as CPIX EXCLUDES bond interest rates.

We will again send out an sms to ballot you to either reject or accept the salary offer as it stands.

The offer is 11.5% plus the multi term.

Please do not vote with anything else than ACCEPT or REJECT.

If you want to accept the 11.5% with the multi-term, vote ACCEPT.
If you want to accept the 11.5% without the multi term vote REJECT, as the 11.5% without multi-term is NOT on the table from the SABC's side at this point in time.

If you haven't received any sms's, please sms your number to 0829208669.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Offer rejected

All three Unions have rejected the multi-term proposed by the SABC. According to the SABC we will meet soon to discuss the way forward.

We are labour unions that have the right to negotiate terms and conditions of employment. The SABC is NOT offering anything additional to convince us to accept a multi-term. Latest settlements are on 12% without a multi-term.

We will keep you updated.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Who do you think they laughing at?

Our SABC Board chairperson and the Honourable MOM (Minister on a Mission.... ?)

Friday, 20 June 2008

Let's fix OUR SABC

The Minister of Communications, Ms Ivy Matsepe-Cassaburri has requested BEMAWU to make a submission regarding issues prevailing at the SABC. Our submission must reflect on:-

- Administrative problems and challenges,
- Management problems,
- Governance relations and challenges

The aim is to create a turn-around strategy for the SABC.

Now is the time to change things and to fix the problems we experience within the SABC.

Kindly mail or fax your contribution as soon as possible or use the comment link hereunder. Also inform other staff and members to send their submissions as soon as possible.

Mail -
Fax 0866715585

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Wage Negotiations Update II - 18 June 2008

The SABC has made a new offer of 11.5% ATB, with the same multi-term as previously. This offer excludes employees on scale code 130 and above.

The proposed multi-term is still not clear. It refers to history as well as forecast CPI-X.

The three unions is planning to have a joint feedback meeting on Friday with links to the regions. Kindly make sure you attend the meeting. The proposed agreement will be explained to ensure a proper understanding of all the pros and cons.

We in principle don't like a CPI-X based agreement, as our demands should be based on affordability opposed to how the economy is doing. CPI-X also does not take care of interest rates on mortgage bonds.

It is furthermore unacceptable to exclude any BEMAWU member from any agreement.

Feel free to comment and indicate your preference by voting.

Wage Negotiations Update - 18 June 2008

BEMAWU meets with the SABC this morning in an attempt to resolve the impasse around salary negotiations. More communications will follow soon.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Salary Negotiations Final Offer

The SABC Board has made a final offer of 11% ATB increase on condition that we agree to a multi-term wage agreement.

What does a Multi-term agreement mean?

What the SABC Board wants is to not engage with us for the next two years to negotiate a salary increase. They want us to agree to an increase of the previous year’s average CPI-X +1% for the financial years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011.

For example, if the average CPI-X of this current year (2008) at 31 December 2008 is 5%, members will automatically receive a 6% increase. More examples…

Average CPI-X as at 31 December 2008 = 5%. Your increase on 1 April 2009 will be 6%.
Average CPI-X as at 31 December 2009 = 7%. Your increase on 1 April 2010 will be 8%.

The average CPI-X for the past four years was:

2004 – 4.3%
2005 – 3.9%
2006 – 4.6%
2007 – 6.5%

The only time the SABC Board is prepared to negotiate with us during this period is when the CPI-X drops below 4% or rises to 9% or more.

In terms of an increase in the housing subsidy, meal subsidy and gym subsidy the SABC Board is not interested to finalise any increase in these subsidies. Instead, the Board is proposing to move negotiations to August 2008 on those issues.

CPI-X EXCLUDES interest rates on bonds.
Therefore, if there is a sharp rise in the interest rate of your bond, the CPI-X will NOT be influenced by this and will NOT increase and will NOT offer us the opportunity to negotiate an inflation based salary increase. You will have to absorb such an increase yourself!

The SABC Board is still demanding that BEMAWU members on scale code 130 and above be EXCLUDED from this agreement. (See previous post for more detail on this)

As the negotiations team we need a mandate from you.

Do we accept the 11% ATB increase with the multi-term agreement, and by doing so accept that
1.1 for the next two years we will NOT be able to negotiate a salary increase on your behalf unless the average CPI-X drops below 4% or rises to 9% or more
1.2 Housing, Gym and Meal Subsidy will be discussed and negotiated in August 2008 with absolutely no guarantee it will be increased
1.3 Even if interest rates on bonds double, we will NOT be able to engage the SABC Board on further negotiations for a salary increase?

If we do not accept the 11% as presented to us, we can continue to negotiate until we reach a deadlock, which will be the next step as the SABC Board has made a final offer.

Should we accept that BEMAWU members on scale code 130 be excluded from the Agreement, or should we demand that all BEMAWU members is covered by the Agreement?

Please respond by sms or e-mail or fax with “ACCEPT” or “REJECT” It is important that you use the exact words as it will be counted automatically by computer.

Please post your thoughts here. Also exercise your vote on the front panel.

To sms reply to sms message
To fax use 0866715585
To mail use

Salary Negotiations - 12 June 2008

Salary Negotiations for the financial year 2008/2009 resumed on 11 June 2008.

The SABC has made a revised offer of 7.8% ATB increase to SABC employees. BEMAWU (and other unions) has put a counter demand of 14.2% ATB - applicable to ALL OUR MEMBERS, plus the following other critical issues :

1. A R16 800 p.a Housing Subsidy for all members of BEMAWU in the Bargaining Unit.
2. The conversion of Fixed Term Contracts to Permanent Contracts for all BEMAWU members currently employed on fixed term contracts in permanent positions.
3. Gym Subsidy of R720 p.a for all BEMAWU members
4. Meal Subsidy R 106 per month for all BEMAWU members.


The SABC Negotiations Team refused to negotiate on the issues of an increase in housing subsidy, the conversion of fixed term contracts, a gym subsidy and a meal subsidy as they had no mandate from the Board to do so.

Putting it differently - The SABC Board does not believe you should receive an increase on your housing subsidy. The SABC Board does not believe you should be assisted to join a gym to regularly exercise with all the benefits a healthy employee brings to a company. The SABC Board does not believe you should have security and stability of employment by converting your fixed term contract, which they keep on renewing, to a permanent contract.

The SABC Negotiations Team also refused to consider BEMAWU's proposal that a salary increase must be applicable to ALL of its members. The SABC Board wants to exclude BEMAWU members on scale code 130 and above.

The SABC Board therefore wants to discourage a certain group of employees to exercise their constitutional right to belong to and participate in the lawful activities of a trade union, of which salary negotiations is part of.

The SABC Board has lots of money to WASTE on litigation but they plead poverty when it comes to a salary increase.
The SABC Board has lots of time to WASTE to pick frivolous and political fights with Group Executive, but no time to ensure a speedy settlement of the salary negotiations.
The SABC Board has lots of energy to WASTE on meetings (which they get paid for!)to (now for the third time) try to suspend the GCE, but no energy to strategically attend to important matters like salary negotiations, staff regrading issues and to UNITE rather than to DIVIDE the SABC.

The SABC Negotiations Team indicated that they will take our proposal to the Board and give feedback today.

We will keep you posted here on new developments. The negotiations are set down for three days.

Friday, 30 May 2008


The Broadcast, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) calls on the SABC Board to step down with immediate effect.

This Board has brought the SABC’s reputation and name into serious disrepute and is not competent to oversee such an important organization.

Despite the fact that the Board has no less than 3 lawyers on it and that it has access to external legal advice, it has chosen to unlawfully and unprocedurally suspend the Group Chief Executive and by doing so making themselves guilty of fruitless and wasteful expenditure as contemplated by the Public Finance Management Act.

BEMAWU insists that the chairperson of the Board be personally liable in terms of the Public Finance Management Act for the wasted legal cost incurred by the SABC in attempting to defend the unlawful actions of the Board’s Chairperson.

The Board has a fiduciary duty to always act in the best interest of the organization. Had this fiasco happened in any private company the shareholders would have long ago called a meeting and fired the entire board.

Why does the SABC shareholder turns a blind eye?

Why is there no intervention from the shareholder to fire the entire board who supported the unlawful and unprocedural action of the chairperson?

In terms of SABC Policy an employee may not be suspended without affording that employee the opportunity to respond to the allegations and to afford the employee an opportunity to make submissions to not be suspended.

This did not happen. Why not?

Never in the history of the SABC has any employee been served with a suspension letter outside working hours.

Furthermore, and in terms of the SABC’s Personnel Regulations an employee may only be suspended for serious misconduct such as assault, theft and fraud. This is what Section 12 of the Personnel Regulation states:


Where, prima facie, an employee has inter alia committed an act of serious misconduct such as assault or theft or fraud, the employee may be suspended pending an investigation and / or the holding of a disciplinary hearing. The employee shall be advised that the Corporation is considering suspending the employee pending an investigation or the holding of a disciplinary hearing and the employee shall be given an opportunity to respond to the proposed suspension before a decision is made to suspend such employee. If the employee is suspended, the employee shall be advised of the suspension in writing. Any such suspension shall be on full pay.

If this board cannot get a simple issue like a suspension right, how on earth can they manage multi-billion rand deals? What if they mess up that up as well? The risk is simply to big for the country, the organization and most of all, the employees caught up in the middle of all of this. Employees stand to lose their jobs if we allow an incompetent board to oversee the SABC and make similar irresponsible and irrational decisions having a severe effect on the financial viability of the SABC.

If the board does not observe labour legislation and practice, who else will? Should one not lead by example?

Putting it differently, this board has demonstrated their lack of discretion and financial responsibility by acting unlawfully and unprocedurally on a simple and uncomplicated issue like a suspension which resulted in several hundreds of thousands rands of legal cost. They have furthermore demonstrated their disregard for SABC Policy and procedure.

Wasted money!

Why would they not do it again, with more complicated issues and by doing so put the SABC in severe financial trouble? And we all know what happens when an organization lands in serious financial trouble. They cut costs. They cut heads. And SABC staff will come in the firing line.

Will we ever forget McKinsey in 1997 that left almost half of the SABC staff without jobs?

Many of those people have not been able to find decent jobs again.

There is absolutely no doubt that this board must be replaced by a competent board.

The chairperson of the board and her followers have dealt recklessly with the SABC’s money – public money - and they cannot be trusted to oversee and make decisions that may severely affect the SABC and its employees.

If this board does not resign, let us consider to use our collective power to protect our own jobs. 40% of people in this country are unemployed. Only one (1) irresponsible financial decision of millions of rands can bring the SABC on its knees, and it cannot be undone… When it happens, it will be too late. Prevention is better than cure. We must act now! Let us not allow incompetent leadership. People who have no regard for the reputation of the SABC, the organization we work.

Give us back the pride we should have in our workplace.

An organization that has such incompetent leadership will never prosper, will never cost-effectively meet its social responsibilities in a developing country and will never become the asset that it should be to the people of South Africa, regardless of race, creed or colour.

This board has not bother to meet with organised labour at the SABC for almost 5 months now. Suddenly when the place is in turmoil, they running around to meet with unions.

An organization that has incompetent leadership is doomed, and will become a financial millstone to the Country.

Act today by supporting our demand that the Minister/Government must immediately intervene to have this board replaced by a competent one.

Show your support and comment on this article by clicking on the link hereunder.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Salary Increase

Please take note of the following SABC Policy.


When anyone becomes an SABC employee at a fixed annual salary, this salary is increased during the person's period of service. These increments could be made for the following reasons:

a) Annual salary increment

Annual salary increments for unionised employees are negotiated with their respective labour unions. The same changes to the conditions of service will be extended to the bargaining unit employees.

b) Promotion

During their career at the SABC, employees enjoy the privilege of an established career path. When employees are promoted to a higher scale, they qualify for an increment. In cases where an adjustment is not deamed to be justified, prior consultation with the employee will take place.

Employees can also be promoted into a different higher position, without applying for such a position after it has been established that the employee is the most suitable candidate for such a position.

c) Internal appointments

Employees may apply for any vacant post in their own business unit or in another business unit, that is at the same or higher level than their current post. If successful and appointed, the employee will qualify for a salary adjustment. In cases where an adjustment is not deamed to be justified, prior consultation with the employee will take place.

d) Ad hoc increments

Ad hoc increments may be awarded where justified and based on performance. All salary increases should be cleared and approved by a level determined by the Head of the Division in consultation with Human Resources.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Salary Negotiations 27 May 2008

The SABC and Organised Labour (BEMAWU, MWASA, CWU) have started with Salary Negotiations for the year 2008/2009 on Monday, 26 May 2008 at Idle Winds, Muldersdrift.

The SABC made an offer of initially 6% and then 6.5% increase ATB (Across the Board). Organised Labour has made a counter offer of 15.5% plus the Substantive Issues we tried to negotiate since last year.

The Substantive Issues put on the table are as follows:

1. A R16 800 p.a Housing Subsidy for all employees in the Bargaining Unit.
2. The conversion of Fixed Term Contracts to Permanent Contracts for all employees currently employed on fixed term contracts in permanent positions.
3. Gym Subsidy of R720 p.a
4. Meal Subsidy R 106 per month.

The SABC refused to engage Organised Labour on the Substantive Issues saying they have no mandate to do so.

Management requested that the meeting be adjourned. The chairperson adjourned the meeting without notifying the parties until when.

We now wait for the SABC.... again.

Thursday, 08 May 2008

Salary Negotiations - Update 8 May

Yesterday we wrote a letter to the SABC to demand that we continue with Salary Negotiations. We gave them 7 days to meet with us. We are simply not interested in their weak and senseless excuses any more. We frankly don't care about their budgets any more. We want our hard earned salary increase, and we are prepared to fight for it! Should they not meet with us within 7 days, we will take legal action against the SABC to compel them to meet with us. We have signed an agreement that they will meet and negotiate with us, and they, the SABC is in breach of that agreement.

It is this new, useless SABC Board that has stopped everything. They must be blamed for the fact that you have not received a salary increase. They do not want to give a mandate for negotiations. Maybe they should start concentrating on what they hired to do, and they should stop getting involved in the day-to-day operational issues of the SABC. They have been for how long in the seat and they did not bother to meet with BEMAWU, the representatives and face of you, the workers.

I think it is because they don't take us serious as workers. So let's raise our voice and become vocal and adamant that we, the workers of the SABC be RESPECTED and be taken SERIOUS!

You are paying R10.00 a litre for petrol (whether you own your own car, using a taxi or a bus)and inflation runs into double figures but this Board is engaged in a power struggle for political positions! How ridiculous!

Let's rise again, in unity and give this Board something else to do and worry about. Maybe their political games will STOP, and they will concentrate on what they have been hired to do.

VIVA BEMAWU.... and let the struggle continue!!!

Wednesday, 07 May 2008

Today's Beeld

A story of interest from today's Beeld newspaper.

Kaapstad. – Me. Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, minister van staatsdiens en administrasie, wou haar gister nie tot ’n moontlike 11%-salarisverhoging vir staatsamptenare verbind nie.
Haar antwoord op die vraag of staatsdienswerkers vanjaar ’n dubbelsyferverhoging kan verwag, was: “Ingevolge ’n meerjarige salarisooreenkoms kan staatsamptenare ’n verhoging gelykstaande aan die verbruikersinflasiekoers plus 1% kry.
“Die kwessie sal oorweeg word. Daar sal gevolglik ’n besluit hieroor wees,” het sy gesê.
Die ooreenkoms is verlede jaar tussen die regering en die staatsdiensvakbonde gesluit ná die maand lange staatsdiensstaking.
Die verbruikersinflasiekoers sonder inagneming van die rentekoers op huisverbande het verlede maand 10,1% bereik.
Fraser-Moleketi het op ’n mediakonferensie gesê onderskeidelik 88% en 82% van poste vir departementele hoofde en munisipale bestuurders is reeds gevul.
Volgens haar sal die staatsdiens nie die Maart 2010-teiken van 2% gestremdes in die staatsdiens bereik nie. – Abigail Isaacs

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Well, well, well.....

So the cordial and good relationship with the SABC did not last that long! We received a very sarcastic, arrogant and threatening letter from the office of the General Manager, Group Labour Relations after our previous post informing you why you have not received your well deserved salary increase.

It was written by Mr Gary Mackensie. I will publish the letter as soon as I figure out how to do it here. In the meantime, herewith some of the contents.

We referred in our previous post to the General Manager, Group Labour Relations as "Nthlaks", as this is how he refers to himself most of the time. We were told that his name is not "Nthlaks" but "incidentally Nthlakanipo". I would say such a remark is arrogant and sarcastic. Furthermore, its been perceived by BEMAWU as picking a fight. Not words of a man interested in a cordial relationship with a trade union.

We will henceforth refer to the General Manager, Group Labour Relations as Mr Brightboy Nthlakanipo Nkontwana.

The rest of the letter deals with alleged misinformation in our previous post.

We have not published any misinformation in our previous post, or ever. Mr Makensie, on behalf of Mr Nkontwana denied that a meeting took place, and furthermore denied that Mr Nkontwana has said there is a problem with the budget.

Mr Paul Kruger, one of our shop stewards attended a grievance meeting in respect of petrol claims for employees on standby. At the commencement of the meeting he asked Mr Nkontwana why the salary negotiations have been cancelled. Mr Nkontwana informed him that it is due to budget problems, and that the negotiations team had NO MANDATE to continue with negotiations, until further notice. He informed our shop steward that the budget had been finalised, and dates will be communicated soon.

This has been reconfirmed in my presence on Tuesday, the 22nd of April 2008 that dates will be communicated soon and that there was a problem with the budget.

We were threatened by Mr Mackensie that if we do not remove our previous post, the SABC will no longer have a cordial relationship with us.


If you do not want to have a cordial relationship with us because we are telling the truth and informing our members why they have not received their well deserved salary increase, then so be it! Instead of taking the time to threaten and bully us, why did you not rather spent the time informing us of the reason why the SABC has suspended the salary negotiations? It's only good manners, in particular if you are serious about the relationship!

We are waiting for the dates, SABC!!!! We want our increase, and a good one too!!!

Wednesday, 09 April 2008

Salary Negotiations - Update

Salary negotiations with the SABC was postponed sine die as the DOC and portfolio committee on communications apparently did not approve the SABC's budget. According to sources the SABC submitted a budget indicating the SABC will run in a severe deficit the following financial year.

At a meeting on Monday, April 7, General Manager, Labour Relations of the SABC Ntlaks Nkontwana was asked when salary negotiations will resume. Nkontwana confirmed there was a problem was the budget, saying the SABC had no budget for a salary increase. He said the problem had been fixed and an invitation will go out soon to BEMAWU to resume the negotiations.

As soon as new information becomes available, an update will be posted here. Make sure you come back to be informed of the latest developments.

The SABC is still blocking BEMAWU to send out mass e-mail to our members.

Wednesday, 05 March 2008

Update on Negotiations

Salary & Substantive negotiations between the SABC and BEMAWU will resume on the 13th of March 2008 and will continue until 19 March.

Please submit your mandate (the percentage you demand and any other substantive issues) either via e-mail or sms or let your shop steward know.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

White Journalists Banned

It is with great concern BEMAWU has noted the blatant racism displayed when the SABC Political Editor, Abbey Makoe has banned white journalist from an exclusive black meeting.

What is of greater concern however is the attitude of our new President-to-be-elected, Mr Jacob Zuma when he said he sees nothing wrong with this.

BEMAWU is of the view that it divides instead of unifies the nation. Why can't white journalists hear the problems black journalists have and jointly try to address same?

Fortunately not all black South Africans think like Mr Makoe and Zuma.

BEMAWU therefore supports the complaints laid with the Human Rights Comission and we are eagerly awaiting the public hearings in this respect.

We call on the SABC to take the strongest action possible against Mr Makoe to send a clear message it is comitted to rid the SABC and our society from racism.

We are comitted to a non-racial, non-sexist community and SABC.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Substantive Negotiations

Substantive negotiations with the SABC for the 2008/9 financial year kicked off last week and continued this week.

Organised labour (BEMAWU, CWU and MWASA) tabled proposals to inter alia increase the Housing Subsidy of members, an increased gym subsidy for all and a better bursary scheme.

The SABC tabled (an already implemented) revised Long Service Awards Policy, TCOE (Total Cost of Employment), moving from a DB (Defined Benefit) to a DC (Defined Contribution) Pension Fund and the closing down of the in-house Medical Aid Scheme.


Currently SABC employees are on a DB Fund. The fund is doing exceptionally well and in comparison is one of the best managed and strongest pensions funds in South Africa. According to the SABC negotiators and an actuary from 5th Quadrant there is nothing wrong with the pension fund.

Organised Labour is opposed to change to a DC fund mainly (but not limited) for the following reasons:
  • With our current scheme, the SABC (by law) must guarantee our pension. What are the chances that the SABC/Government will go bankrupt and not be able to pay our pension? I say Zero!
  • With a DC fund, the SABC does not carry any legal obligation and theoretically the SABC can give us notice and stop their contributions. (They cannot do so with the current scheme, as they are legally liable to uphold the fund).
  • Dear SABC, we will not lightly forget (and forgive) what you have done to us with the Post Retirement Medical Aid, where you STOPPED your contributions after giving us notice! Why would you not do so with the new proposed DC Fund?
  • We have trustees (50%) that have a say in how to manage the fund, its rules and benefits. With an external scheme we don't!
  • If it ain't broken, don't fix it!

Organised Labour is opposed to this.

The SABC wants us to close down our in-house scheme and join an open scheme.
  • Our in-house scheme had the lowest increase in tariff the previous year
  • Our scheme is run by trustees and we have 50% say in matters like benefits and tariff increases
  • In an open scheme the administrators make that decision,
  • All money coming into the fund is utilised for members - in an open fund profit goes to the owners, and marketing cost is paid
  • Our fund has an ex Gratia option - an open fund don't have that option.
  • Particularly the lower income people will not be able to afford medical aid with the same benefits they enjoy currently

Another proposal, as part of TCOE is the inclusion of our 13th guaranteed cheque into monthly salary. In other words, our 13th cheque will be collapsed into our salaries, and we will receive it monthly instead of in December every year.

Negotiations will continue soon and we will held a General Meeting to answer questions.

Please feel free to comment and air your opinion. Make your voice heard.