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.