Friday, 31 July 2009

Further 1,5%

The Board has approved the further 1,5% backdated to 1 April and be implemented on the 1st of December 2009. This makes it an effective 10% increase. An sms will be send again to ask you to vote on this.

Salary Adjustments


In terms of the salary agreement, only BEMAWU members and non-unionised
members will receive the salary adjustment of 8.5% within the next few days,
backdated to 1 April.

Please ensure you have a BEMAWU deduction on your pay slip. If not, and you
have joined, or you want to join now, fax us an application form urgently,
to ensure you get your salary increase in time.

Mail us at for a form.

Members outside the so-called bargaining unit

To all BEMAWU members outside the so-called bargaining unit:

We wanted you to be included in this salary adjustment agreement. The SABC refused. Rumor has it that you will receive between 3 and 5% increase. We believe this is unfair. We will therefore start a process of negotiations with the SABC to negotiate a better and proper increase for you. We (and you) are entitled to collective bargaining in terms of the Labor Relations Act. The process will be as follows:
We want a mandate from you to start this process. Do so by sending us an email or sms. Email to or sms to 0829208669.
We will negotiate for BEMAWU members only. This will make it easier for the SABC to agree, as non-unionised members will still only receive their 3-5%.
If you mandate us to start the negotiations, please do not accept a salary increase you not happy with. If a salary increase is imposed on you unilaterally, let us know immediately and we will do the necessary legal correspondence.
Please provide us with your mandate as soon as possible.
Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Proposed Agreement (We have not signed as yet)

Hereunder the proposed agreement. A sms will be send to you to finally mandate us to accept or reject this offer. Please read through the agreement before responding to the sms. Your response via sms should simply be "Accept" or "Reject".

If you fall outside the so-called bargaining unit, we will start a process to negotiate for you in particular.










1.1 To provide for the annual general salary adjustment for employees for the financial year 2009/10.


2.1 This agreement will be applicable to:

2.2.1 Employees who are employed by the SABC falling within the bargaining unit (scale codes 300-409) and those employees appointed in terms of fixed term contracts (scale code 600) falling within the bargaining unit;

2.2.2 Who are members in good standing of BEMAWU; and

2.2 The scope of this agreement excludes employees employed in terms of fixed terms contracts (scale code 900 ).


3.1 BEMAWU members in the bargaining unit as referred to in clause 2 above, will receive eight point five (8.5) % (percent) salary adjustment across the board (ATB) for the financial year 2009/10 and back paid to 1 April 2009; and

3.2 The referred to salary adjustment will be effected within five (5) days upon signing of this agreement.


4.1 This agreement shall come into effect on the date of signature hereof and shall remain in force until 31 March 2010, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties hereto in writing.


5.1 The parties furthermore agree that this agreement will constitute an amendment to the provisions of the Multi Term Agreement dated 8 July 2008 and therefore does not impact on the validity of the provisions of the Multi Term Agreement referred to above in any other manner.


6.1 The parties furthermore specifically agree as follows:

6.1.1 The demand from BEMAWU for an additional one point

five (1.5) % salary increment to be effected, is subject to SABC

Board feedback in this regard and same will be given to BEMAWU on Friday 31 July 2009;

6.1.2 That the parties will negotiate on how the remaining two point two (2.2) % salary increment could be utilised in respect of BEMAWU members.

6.1.3 That the SABC agrees to follow process to: Scale down the petrol card and maintenance of car expenses of Top & Senior Managers; Scale down on DSTV allowances for Top & Senior Managers to employees that really need it for the execution of their duties; Scale down on free newspapers for Top & Senior Managers to employees that really need it for the execution of their duties; Review the processes mentioned in to, on an ongoing basis, with a view to restoring or phasing out the benefits completely, subject to the financial well being of the SABC and the availability of funds. That the SABC will take immediate action in terms of the Public Finance Management Act to sue and to criminally prosecute, where applicable employees guilty of fruitless and wasteful expenditure including fraud, theft and other unauthorized financial losses.

6.1.4 That the investigation currently being conducted by the Auditor General to continue to its logic conclusion and that the parties will at all times co-operate in this regard. All outstanding Internal Audit Reports will also receive management’s urgent attention and action;

6.1.5 BEMAWU agrees to provisionally withdraw the dispute referred to the CCMA in respect of the salary increases which has been set down for 12 August 2009. Should the SABC be in breach of any of the clauses of this agreement, the parties agree that BEMAWU may re-enroll its dispute for arbitration as per the current referral to the CCMA for arbitration;

6.1.6 Should the feedback from the SABC Board be that the SABC will not effect a further one point five (1.5) % then BEMAWU has the right to proceed with its dispute set down for 12 August 2009 at the CCMA to effect the full twelve point two (12.2)%.

6.2 Should any other employee receive a better increase or better conditions as reflected in this agreement, those better increases and/or condition(s) will be extended automatically to BEMAWU members as well.


7.1 In the event of any conflict between the provisions of this agreement and any other agreement, the provisions of this agreement shall take precedence; and

7.2 No amendments to this agreement shall be in force unless reduced to writing and signed by the parties.


8.1 Should there be a dispute about the interpretation or application of this agreement, any party may refer the dispute to the Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for adjudication.


Wednesday, 29 July 2009


Some of our members were intimidated today because they did not participate in the strike.

We will not tolerate this behavior of individuals at all. BEMAWU has followed a democratic process to ballot our members in respect of the acceptance of the SABC's offer. The overwhelming majority of our members voted in favor of accepting the SABC's offer on the conditions stipulated by us. We respect that majority vote. We at the same expect other employees to respect that democratic process and the outcome of same as we respect their right to strike. We are jointly in this dispute as organized labor and we remain committed to the cause of workers and unity of Organised labor.

However, the acts of intimidation is now threatening the unity of organized labor.

BEMAWU is not in bed with management, as certain individual would like to propagate in their cheap recruitment campaigns. We have pulled off a full blown strike at Lotus FM last week and we will continue with that strike if our demands are not met. We are on strike there because members have voted in favor of a strike. If we were in bed with management, why are we on strike then at Lotus?

So why are we prepared to sign the agreement? We are giving effect to the ballot we have conducted. In other word, we received a mandate to settle the dispute. Similar to what MWASA did last year when they signed the multi-term agreement with the SABC without us or CWU agreeing and signing the agreement. They did that because one would presume they had mandate from their members to sign. We presume that is why they consulted us to inform us they have signed. The CWU followed suit and signed the agreement without talking to BEMAWU. Presumably at that point in time it was more important to adhere to member's mandate to sign and accept than to stick with organized labor.

Putting differently, they followed mandate as we doing now.

The majority of our members believe the offer of 8,5% with a further 1,5% in acceptable in the current circumstances, and they have mandated us to accept the offer. The remaining 2,2% will not disappear. We believe we have secured it for further negotiations.

We have reported the intimidation to the SABC and the Police. Anyone intimidating any of our members will be criminally prosecuted. The SABC ensured us they will guarantee the safety of our members.

We request that all intimidation incidents be reported to us to ensure prosecution.

We are the SABC, and we are supposed to be professional and step with human rights and democracy.

Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom!

The Pension Fund Act

Herewith an extract of the Pension Fund Act. It appears from the Act that the SABC can fund a contribution holiday with its surplus.

15E Utilisation of surplus for benefit of employer

(1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the rules a participating employer may request the board to use

actuarial surplus allocated to the employer surplus account in terms of sections 15B, 15C and 15F for use by that employer

for any of the following purposes, namely -

(a) funding a contribution holiday;

(b) payment of pensions, or an increase in pensions in course of payment, so as to compensate members for

the loss of any subsidy from the employer of their medical costs after retirement;

(c) meeting, in full or in part, expenses which the employer is obliged to pay in terms of the rules of the fund;

(d) improving the benefits payable to all members, or a category of members as defined in the rules, as

determined by the employer;

(e) transferring part, or all, of the employer surplus account in terms of subsection (2) to the employer

surplus account in another fund where the employer is a participating employer;

(f) on liquidation of the fund in terms of sections 28 or 29, payment in cash to the employer in terms of

section 15I; and

(g) in order to avoid retrenchment of a significant proportion of the workforce, payment in cash to the

employer in terms of section 15J:

Provided that the members of the board who have been elected by members of the fund shall not have a vote in any deliberation over the use of any credit balance in the employer surplus account.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Our Conditions

Herewith our submission to the SABC's Employee Relations in respect of the
settlement of the wage dispute between the SABC and BEMAWU. It goes without saying that the 8.5% must be backdated to 1 April 2009 and that this submission is without prejudice.

28 July 2009

The General Manager

Employee Relations


Dear Edwin,

Herewith the conditions:

BEMAWU is prepared to accept 8.5% ATB increase to be implemented with
immediate effect for our members on condition:

* That we will negotiate the implementation date of a further 1.5%
in this current financial year, to be implemented by no later than 1
December 2009,

* That we will negotiate the difference, being (2.2%) at a later
stage and not necessarily to be implemented in this financial year. This
2.2% could also be allocated, by agreement to regrade employees on merit and
in terms of policy.

* That Top and Senior Management start paying for their own petrol
and maintenance cost which they currently receiving for free,

* That Top and Senior Management start paying for their own DSTV,
which they currently receiving for free,

* That Top and Senior Management start paying for their newspapers,
which they currently receiving for free,

* That all outstanding audit reports be actioned with immediate

* That all fruitless and wasteful expenditure being addressed with
immediate effect and the employees involved be sued and prosecuted as per
the Public Finance Management Act,

* That if any other union negotiates a better increase, BEMAWU
members be entitled to same. (Sunset clause)


Hannes du Buisson

President : BEMAWU

Pension Fund

SABC employees will note that the SABC only paid half (7%) of its
contribution to the Pension Fund. In terms of the Pension Fund Act it
appears as if the SABC is entitled to take what is called a "contribution
holiday". We will study the Act in depth to make sure the SABC operates
within the boundaries of the Pension Fund Act.

It is a term and condition of employment that the SABC contributes 14% to
the pension fund.

We have a Defined Benefit Fund, which effectively means the SABC has to
ensure that the Fund stays healthy at all times.

Friday, 24 July 2009


We are concerned about the latest enquiries by management to identify so-called redundant employees. Not only is it unprocedural and unlawful to do it this way, but it is also misplaced.

Retrenchments must start with management, then with freelancers and not the staff.

We request that staff submit names to us of managers doing nothing and who does not have a job or real function. We will put those names forward as the first ones to go. Then we will look at freelancers who are not a member of our union.

Mail us at

We will soon put a moratorium on the joining of new members until after the retrenchments. We are not prepared to take on new members at the point where they stand to loose their jobs. This will result in the union paying for legal costs should there be a dispute of members who has never contributed to the union before. BEMAWU will only fight for its own members, freelance and permanent and we will try to make sure our members have continued employment at the SABC.


Coffe mugs and memory sticks

News offices recently received coffee mugs and 1gb memory sticks with SABC branding on to be handed out to newsmakers.

We take it the financial crisis is now over and the SABC can afford the full 12.2% increase and all TV producers will be paid in full by the end of this month.

BEMAWU's Position re Salaries

There seems to be confusion as to the position of BEMAWU in respect of the salary negotiations.

To clarify:

1. The SABC and BEMAWU (and other unions) signed a multi-term agreement for a three (3) year salary increase. In terms of that agreement the SABC must implement the average CPI-X plus 1% for this year. It is common cause that the CPI-X average is 11.2%. The SABC is therefore legally bound to implement at 1 April 2009 the 12.2% increase.
2. There is no opt-out clause in the agreement, in particular there is no clause that the SABC does not have to implement the CPI-X plus 1%. There is only a clause that states that any party may re-open negotiations. Negotiations mean parties talk to each other and come to an agreement and a new agreement is then concluded, or there is no agreement, and the current agreement remains in force.
3. We have complied with our part of the agreement, to enter into negotiations with the SABC. There is currently no agreement, therefore the agreement of CPI-X plus 1% remains in force.
4. We have an arbitration date for 12 August 2009. Should we fail to reach agreement on a lower salary increase the arbitration will continue. As has been stated by Employee Relations previously, the arbitration will be formality for us to win. They however intent raising a technical point in respect of the classification of our dispute.
5. The other two unions abandoned their member's right to the 12.2% increase. BEMAWU decided to not do that, but to insist that our members have the right to a 12.2% increase.
6. On the basis that they have abandoned their member's right to the 12.2% increase, the CCMA issued a certificate for them to strike.
7. We also served a notice of a strike on the SABC is in respect of a secondary strike. In other word, in sympathy of the other two unions.
8. The SABC has offered a 8.5% increase with immediate effect and a further 1.5%. In respect of the further 1.5% we have to negotiate the implementation date thereof. The chairperson of the board in a subsequent meeting attempted to withdraw the 1.5%. We did not accept that withdrawal. We believe if an offer has been made by the GCEO of the SABC, it is legitimate and must be honoured.
9. Based on this offer, and also an undertaking that we will be able to in future negotiate around the remaining 2.2% (8.5% plus 1.5% = 10%, difference to 12.2% = 2.2%) we balloted members.
10. The outcome of the ballot was in favour of accepting the offer, with certain conditions attached thereto.
11. We are now trying to meet with the SABC to finalise the agreement. Until such time that we have signed the agreement we are still able and in a position to strike. For instance, we don't know if the SABC will agree to all of the conditions we have tabled. If they don't we have the right to strike and to proceed with arbitration on the 12th of August 2009.

If you have any questions, please post it here under comments, and I will answer it as soon as possible.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Strike at Lotus FM suspended for 7 days

The strike at Lotus FM has been suspended for seven (7) working days to afford the SABC the opportunity to look into the allegations against the station manager.
98% of employees at Lotus FM were on strike yesterday. If 98% of SABC Staff nationally embark on a strike in respect of salaries, the strike will also be over in only one day.
More to follow...

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Lies and cover-up

In a media statement released by the SABC they alleged Ms Samuels of Lotus FM pleaded guilty to misconduct her managers have committed.

There is only one manager reporting to Ms. Samuels.

Yesterday he confronted Ms. Samuels about this statement. She denied that she has made this claim.

The SABC thus lied in their media release and they covered-up for Ms. Samuels.

The manager, our member will institute a grievance against the SABC media spokesperson today.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Did we sign?

BEMAWU did NOT sign a new agreement with the SABC. Therefore, a strike is NOT off, until we have signed a new agreement.

We did not agree to an 8.5% increase. We are prepared to sign an agreement of 8.5% immediately, and negotiate on the implementation of the 1.5% committed to by the Acting GCEO. This is a 10% increase.

We have an in principle agreement with the Chairperson of the Board that we will sign an agreement with the SABC that would enable us to negotiate a further increase in respect of the remaining 2.2%.

BEMAWU did not abandon our right to the 12.2% as the other two unions did. We have maintained that there is an agreement of 12.2% and we have an arbitration date set for 12 August 2009. Should the SABC not settle with us before the time, we will proceed with arbitration and ask for the full 12.2%.

To be able to proceed with industrial action, the other two unions had to tell the Commissioner at the CCMA that they abandon their member's right to the 12.2% increase. Only BEMAWU members may claim that right of 12.2% at this point in time.

As the Plant Secretary of CWU has said "I did not agree at the time to abandon our member's right to 12.2%, but I was outvoted." It's called democracy, comrade. Question is, did the members understood what they voted for?

We hope to meet with the SABC as soon as possible to conclude an agreement. In the meantime the strike at Lotus FM continues, and we are calling on BEMAWU members in KZN and other regions to join.

This is a fight against bad management and fruitless and wastefull expenditure. This is a fight for the right to not be victimised when you blow the whistle on irregularities.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Outcome of Ballot

We have counted the votes. The majority of our members indicated that they are prepared to accept 8.5% with conditions attached to it.

The conditions are:
  • That we will negotiate the implementation of a further 1.5% when the SABC's financial position are better,
  • That we will negotiate the difference (2.2%) also at a later stage.
  • That Top and Senior Management start paying for their own petrol and maintenance cost which they currently receiving for free,
  • That Top and Senior Management start paying for their own DSTV, which they currently receiving for free,
  • That Top and Senior Management start paying for their newspapers, which they currently receiving for free,
  • That all outstanding reports be actioned with immediate effect,
  • That all fruitless and wasteful expenditure being addressed with immediate effect and the employees involved be sued and prosecuted.
Should these conditions not be met, we will proceed with industrial action.

Our members voted as follows:
71.39% voted to accept the 8.5% with attached conditions
24.35% voted in favour of a strike
4.26% spoilt votes.

Any BEMAWU member is entitled to participate in industrial action until such time we have signed an agreement with the SABC.

The ballot is a democratic process and the outcome of the ballot is in no way a splitting of organised labour at the SABC. Our comrades in the other two unions were informed of the outcome of our ballot and we will meet soon to discuss a strategic way forward.

Organized labour remains united and organized at the SABC.

Meeting today

Kindly take note that BEMAWU has no knowledge of any meeting today of organised labour.

BEMAWU would once again like to confirm that we will personally communicate with our own members and we will personally send out our own invitations and communications.

There are individual SABC employees who pretend to speak on behalf of organised labour. Please ignore their communications. The statement for instance posted on another union's website alleging we do not endorse the new Board is false and misleading.

We speak on our own behalf and we will never appoint someone to speak on our behalf. If we do, this will be communicated to you.


We are not finished counting the votes. If you have already voted, please do not vote again. If you have not voted as yet, please do so before 12:00 and via SMS.

You are required to vote as follows:

"Accept" - You accept the 8.5% increase to be implemented immediately, with a clause to negotiate a further increase when the SABC is in a better financial position (the promised 1.5% and the difference to 12.2%). This acceptance is on condition Top and Senior Management sacrifice their free petrol cards, free DSTV at home, free newspapers at home and all outstanding audit reports be actioned immediately.

"Strike" - You reject the above, demand a 12.% and want to proceed with a strike.

Lotus FM

Kindly refer to the SABC's Media statement hereunder and see our response at the end.



Johannesburg, 17 July 2009 – The SABC would like to comment that the demands by Bemawu in the particular case of Lotus FM Station Manger Ms. Gail Samuels to be removed or redeployed as well as the review of her disciplinary hearing are unreasonable and unlawful because these concerns raised by Bemawu on behalf of its members were addressed and investigated by Management. A disciplinary hearing was conducted whereby Ms. Samuels was given a final warning.

Ms. Samuels pleaded guilty during the hearing for matters that her own managers had not addressed and therefore took accountability as Station Manager. It would be unfortunate if Lotus FM employees decide to go on strike; on issues that management has been dealing with and are still willing to engage the union on, as per the outcome of the CCMA conciliation process held in Durban yesterday.

The SABC further confirms receipt of a notice for strike by Bemawu members, commencing 21 July 2009 at 14:00. The SABC will have no option but to take appropriate action to ensure that there is uninterrupted broadcast at Lotus FM. The principle of no work no pay will apply and any misconduct will be dealt with accordingly.

The SABC can as one of its options, apply for an interdict should a strike go out of order and threaten the peaceful order and the stability of the station. This should not be seen as a threat, but just one of the legal recourses at the disposal of the SABC.


Issued By: Group Communications

Media Enquiries: Kaizer Kganyago
082 306 8888


  1. Our demands are not unlawful and unreasonable. The CCMA has confirmed same.
  2. Our concerns have never been addressed, hence the matter remained unresolved at the CCMA,
  3. We have no faith in the internal disciplinary system of the SABC. It is usually manipulated by Management. Either to unlawfully dismiss employees they want to get rid off, like the Durban 4 or to protect management, like in this case.
  4. The CCMA has indicated in no uncertain terms the strike will be protected. To interdict would be another fruitless and wasteful expenditure. This also is a clear indication the SABC does have money. Any interdict will be defended with costs to the SABC.
  5. We are willing to address issues. There is still 24 hours left to do so. If there is no resolution, the strike will go ahead, as planned.
  6. The only outcome at the CCMA was that employees are entitled to strike.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Strike at Lotus FM

In less than 24 hours there will a full blown strike at Lotus FM.

BEMAWU members at Lotus FM for some time now experienced serious differences with the Station Manager. They passed on information to internal audit which resulted in disciplinary action against the station manager.

After a disciplinary hearing the Station Manager only received a final written warning valid for 8 months.

Staff at Lotus are now victimised because of their participation in the audit.

We demand that the Station Manager lawfully be redeployed to another position, and that her disciplinary hearing be reviewed by a neutral third party.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

In perspective

BEMAWU, as a responsible and professional trade union believe its our duty and responsibility to put the statement "You can strike until you blue in the face" accorded to the new chairperson of the Board in perspective.

This was not said in any negative or challenging and disrespectful manner. The SABC has made another R100M deficit in the past quarter. The total deficit is now approximately R960M according to Gab.

It is in that context she has said that it is our constitutional right to embark on a strike, but it will not change the financial position of the SABC and generate more money.

BEMAWU did not agree to the 8.5% increase. We had a meeting with our members where we have stated the factual situation to our members. We have explained that we are driven by a mandate. If the mandate is to proceed with a strike, we will continue to organise same in an as effective as possible manner. We have to ballot members and properly seek mandate for each proposal put by management. This is something required by every trade union's constitution. The shouting and screaming of a few individuals can not even by a healthy stretch of the imagination be seen as a mandate. Each and every member has the right to vote on issues where their salaries and income could be severely affected as a result of a strike and lockout. The fact that we said we will again ballot our members does not mean we have accepted anything.

BEMAWU was the last union to sign the multi-term agreement. We did not want to sign it because inter alia it was so poorly drafted that it could be interpreted in many ways.

We are still committed to the process and our mandate has not changed until the next ballot. If the majority of our members are prepared to conditionally accept the SABC's offer, we would be irresponsible if we ignore that and proceed with a strike. Equally, if members are not willing to accept the offer, we can and will not ignore that, and we will continue with the strike.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Meeting with new Chairperson of Sabc Board

Organised Labour yesterday met with the new chairperson of the Sabc Board, Irene Charnley and two other Board Members.

It was a cordial meeting and Organised Labour expressed their trust and confidence in the new Board and its desire to work with the Board to rid the SABC of corruption and reckless spending. All three unions individually confirmed their confidence in the Board and commitment to stabilise the SABC.


We handed over a memorandum to the SABC yesterday setting out our demands. We gave them two days to respond. Until Friday no further action will happen.

We will again send out an sms ballot after the two days.

I will be in Durban today and tomorrow. Members at Lotus FM will be at the CCMA tomorrow to obtain a certificate to embark on a strike in respect of an unresolved grievance at the Station. Staff has no confidence in the manager who have been found guilty of serious transgressions. She has also removed the two top presenters, Vikash and Ray from the station.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Message to Urban Brew, Atlas Studios, other production facilities and freelancers

As from tomorrow employees at the SABC will embark on a protected strike to enforce a promise to pay, being 12,2%.

If you assist the SABC to continue to broadcast, it may have an effect on our strike. As the SABC has promised employees to pay, and is now reneging on that agreement, so they have done to you too. We have supported you in your attempt to get your money, please support us too. This strike is not only about a salary increase. It is also about responsible management and the ability to keep on functioning as a public broadcaster, but without the big spenders.

And maybe you will also not be paid for helping out. They had to be sued by their previous lawyer to be paid.


As from today BEMAWU members may participate in any industrial action without permission from management. Any participation outside lunchtime hours can be regarded as a protected strike. The principle of no work, no pay can be applied by management. Since it will only be for an hour, and the intention is to hand over a memorandum to the SABC, we trust that management will not be small minded and try to deduct an hour's salary.
Bring some warm clothes. Its cold out here, both in terms if the weather and no increase.

Meeting with Board

Unions will meet with the chairperson of the new Board today at 13:00. Please remember to attend the meeting for BEMAWU members only today. We had to combine the previous meeting at the last minute due to new developments.

Today will be for BEMAWU members only.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Plans for tomorrow

Please take note that tomorrow there will be no strike, but only a march from 10:00 to 12:00. The march will start at the Sentech Tower and will end at the SABC.

Our strike notice will only be effective from tomorrow. We will only by tomorrow notify the SABC when we will officially strike.

We have a BEMAWU only meeting tomorrow, 14 July at 14:00 in K1 Auditorium. We urge you to attend that meeting in order to get a clear mandate from you.

Meeting with chairperson of Board

We will be meeting with the Chairperson of the Interim Board at 14:00 today.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Latest offer

Offer 405-409=10,25%, 401-404=9,75%, 300=9,25% all backdated to 1 April. Joint meeting on Monday, 12:00 to 13:00 for a mandate.

Meeting with Gab

The meeting with Gab has started. He's back from the doctor. He went for x-rays after having chest pains.

Minutes of meeting of 8 July


Bernard Koma
André Weber
Eddie Molokwane
Jaco van Staden
Liketso Mokokoane
Tseliso Ralitabo
Masaccha Mbonambi

Themba Gasa
Billy Matsitse
Lungile Lushozi
Mimi Lushaba
Tommy Morudu
Hannes du Buisson
Ernest Dlamini
Nomthi Taukobong
Vulture Ntuluki


Ray Halim-Administrator: Bargaining Forum

Meeting convened with no welcome or introductions just organized labour stating that they were invited to this meeting and needed clarity on the purpose of the meeting and who they were representing.


Bernard Koma on behalf of the management team – thanked all and appreciated their attendance. He stated that the team was aware of the salary negotiations which have gone beyond expectations. He also confirmed that the team was put together by the GCEO to try and facilitate continued salary talks with organized labour and that the GCEO, CPO and Sipho Sithole will not be joining the meeting.


Organized Labour responded that at a meeting held on Monday, 6 July 2009 it was made clear to Management that they had started the process and labour expects them to continue with the process until concluded and this is the basis of labour's question as stated above –'who are you'.

Organized Labour continued to state that they had expected the Minister of Communication to be a part of this meeting as this was the undertaking from GCEO for a multi-party forum with the Minister.

Organized Labour also stated that previous communication was a problem with the GCEO and the wanted the mandate giver (the Minister) to attend the meeting for clarity on the situation, and now failed to understand why another level is introduced which will further complicate the communication.

It also was clear to organized labour that this team was not sure of the offer and so effectively was bringing nothing new to this table.

Organized Labour stated that it is a waste of time trying to discuss issues already on the table whilst the place (SABC) due to the strike is going to burn in a few days and meant it literally not figuratively that the SABC will be going off air in a few days.

Organized Labour wanted to know who made this decision to bring in a new team of negotiators. They stated that constructive meetings to resolve this issue were urgently required and that this is unprofessional behaviour demonstrated by the SABC Management. They also questioned why those who they have been in discussions who carry the mandate, is now distancing themselves.

Organized Labour further stated that if individuals in the organization had the interest of the organization at heart they should have engaged labour as early as February 2009. and perhaps labour would have agreed to a negotiated salary increase. Going one step forward and 15 back will be irresponsible from labour and it will not be able to explain to crowd seen outside why they have taken so many steps back.


Bernard Koma responded that he wanted to address 2 or 3 issues and stated that the team was not informed that the Minister would be required to attend this meeting. He also agreed that talks have been happening with the Group Executive and that they had decided that this team continue with the negotiations and requested perhaps one of the other team members to assist.

Eddie Molokwane requested a caucus as he felt it imperative that the team respond accordingly to the issues raised by Organized Labour.


Organized Labour stated that they had no intention of being rude, but a caucus would be futile if this team did not have a new mandate and that it was a waste of time to continue with this meeting.


Eddie Molokwane reiterated the purpose of the caucus was to give an informed and responsible response to the questions raised and once again requested a 5 minute caucus.


Organized Labour stated that meeting with this team was a problem as the GCEO had no time to caucus and had the answers immediately. Sitting with this team while they have to consult for a mandate while a strike is going to take the SABC off air is a waste of time and irresponsible. Labour just wants an answer 'YES or NO'.


Bernard Koma once again requested the 5 minute caucus and stated that the team will address that question after the caucus.


Organized Labour commented that it is no point as it is clear that there is no new mandate, and that the team should not say they do not have a new percentage as labour is aware that the team was briefed.


Tseliso Ralitabo – "I'm of the opinion that we should be given an opportunity to caucus in order to respond to your questions which obviously is in conflict with the brief. More importantly to have a sense of your understanding of a new mandate and I want a sense of the last mandate so that I can say whether we have a new mandate or not."


Organized Labour – "you see Cde that is creating and adding to the problem. You've made it a very, very big problem because if you don't even know what was said previously to us, on what basis do you come here and talk to us if you were not properly briefed. So what you are effectively saying is that you are going to run back to two weeks and now we will have to brief you and inform you on what was said and not said for you to get on speed if you don't know what the mandate what was last presented to us it is a serious problem – we take exception that we are getting that kind of treatment from the SABC side but let me help you the last offer was we don't know where the another 1.5% will come from whether it will come and how it will come – that's the last offer."

Tseliso Ralitabo – "thank you very much Cde that's what I wanted to know. I didn't not say I did not know what the last offer was I needed to calibrate your understanding of the last offer to compare what we have to say new or not."

Organized Labour agrees to caucus

Bernard Koma thanked labour for the caucus and requested Tseliso Ralitabo to address the meeting.

Tseliso Ralitabo's response - the team respects labours position as they were not aware of all the issues and stated that they will communicate same to principles as the continuation of this meeting would be in violation of agreements between Management and Labour. Tseliso Ralitabo also apologized for inviting labour to a meeting without full background to previous meetings.

Meeting closed.

Thursday, 09 July 2009

More lies...

The SABC has send the following letter to us at 15:00 today.

This letter contains several lies....

Our response...


Per E-mail

Dear Mr. Mampone,


Your letter of even date has reference.

  1. We took note, with concern of the contents of your letter under reply and wish to place the following on record:

    • We did not refuse to enter into negotiations with the SABC, we attended the said meeting,
    • The SABC had no mandate at all, let alone a clear mandate, and it was so stated on the record,
    • The team had no offer to make, they stated on record they had no mandate and they did not know what previous offer were made to organised labour.

2. We do not know what games are being played by management, but we believe management’s conduct is reprehensible and dangerous. The three unions at the SABC is about to enter into a full blown strike at the SABC and it appears as if management is not serious about the risk they are putting the public broadcaster at.

3. The offer put to organised labour now is no different to what has been put to us before. We will not and cannot accept offers that has no substance. By stating that the 1.5% is subject to formal approval by the SABC means the Board may not approve the 1.5%. The offer will then remains at 8.5% which have been rejected before.

4. We also note that reference is being made to the SABC Board. Parliament is currently busy calling for nominations for a new Board. This means we have to wait for the Board which will only be appointed after six (6) months before we will know whether the 1.5% has been approved or not.

We insist that you rectify the issues raised in paragraph 1 above. We have a recording of the meeting that will confirm what you have stated above, never transpired at the said meeting.


Hannes du Buisson
President : BEMAWU

Wednesday, 08 July 2009

Meeting feedback

Today's meeting at 14:00 was a prime example of "fruitless and wasteful" behaviour by the SABC. An entirely new team of junior people were send with no mandate or fresh offer. They did not know what the last offer was and they were not aware of the fact that we were expecting the Minister to meet with us. As no fresh offer were made and nothing was put on the table to resolve the impasse the meeting adjourned after 15 minutes.

There is another lunchtime picket on Friday from 13:00 to 14:00.

Meeting with Gab

We will meet the Acting GCEO and his team today at 14:00 in an attempt to break the deadlock and to avert a full scale strike. Please make sure we have your correct cell number. Any new offer will be posted here and also sms'd to you.

Tuesday, 07 July 2009

Another victory for BEMAWU!

If you ever had doubts as to why you should belong to BEMAWU, keep on reading. These employees would not have been able to drive and fund a case like this on their own.

Today the Labour Court dismissed the SABC’s review application with cost in the Durban 4 matter, ending a lengthy and extremely expensive legal battle between BEMAWU and the SABC.

In a nutshell this case is about four BEMAWU members employed in the Durban office. They tendered on obsolete SABC vehicles. The SABC alleged they have breached tender rules (tendering on behalf of someone else) and summarily dismissed them. They were reinstated by the CCMA. The SABC took the CCMA decision on review to the Labour Court and today the Labour Court ruled in favour of the Union confirming the reinstatement of the four BEMAWU members.

We have seen figures of more than R3 Million spent on only this one case by the SABC. The SABC Regional Management in Durban, Mr Zakes Dube and Nokotula Luthuli must be investigated by the Auditor General and they must personally be held accountable and liable for these expenses. How possibly can anyone justify these enormous expenses for such a simple matter? Civil and criminal charges for fruitless and wasteful expenditure must be investigated against them.

So Mr Dube, are you and Mrs Luthuli going to spent another R3 Million of SABC money to take the matter on appeal? And we want our legal cost to be paid without delay, or else we will again send the Sherriff to reposes the SABC’s property.

Our members in middle and senior management

Our members in senior and middle management should please take note that under no circumstances should you agree to accept a lower percentage increase. There is currently no defined bargaining unit, and you are entitled to the same increase as all other members of BEMAWU. We will most definitely fight for this.

No 10%

Please note there is NOT 10% on the table as alleged. The offer is still 8,5%. Gab could not tell us when and how the extra 1,5 % will be implemented. He undertook to talk to the Minister and come back to us. We are still waiting for him to report back. This is with reference to this mornings broadcast and newspaper reports.

Why Strike

BEMAWU has always been a responsible and professional union. We have, consistently remain the largest union at the SABC and continue to fight for the rights of our members.

We have stated on record that industrial action is a last resort. Our decision as a union to go on strike, is reserved for the most serious issues.

Our SABC is stands on the brink of total destruction. The proud organization we have built up over many years has made headlines in the world and local news; driven by fruitless and wasteful expenditure, corruption, political interference and in-fighting. Most notably however, is the financial situation the SABC finds itself in.

Last year during salary negotiations a multi-term salary agreement was proposed by management. This was to ensure labour peace during the Confederations Cup and the World Cup Soccer in 2010. BEMAWU initially refused to sign the agreement, because it was drafted in such a manner that our members could have been severely prejudiced by it. The prejudice was if the CPI-X was to be very low, i.e 4%, our salary increase for 2009 would have been 5 %.

However, towards November last year [2008] we realized that the CPI-X would pitch high, in which event the agreement would favour the members. BEMAWU signed the agreement. The agreement has a clause which stipulates if the average CPI-X goes below 4% or reaches 9% and above, any party may re-open negotiations. It is common knowledge that the average CPI-X for the year was 11.2%. In terms of the agreement the SABC is obliged to increase salaries by 12.2%. It has failed to do so.

Had the SABC followed sound practice (as BEMAWU had), its calculations would have shown that the CPI-X would pitch higher than 9%. The SABC was then supposed to have re-opened negotiations . It however failed to do so. The SABC waited until after the implementation date of 1 April and still failed to properly negotiate with BEMAWU. At the implementation date, and in absence of a new agreement, the SABC became liable for the CPI-X plus 1% (12.2%). As a result, the SABC is, and will remain liable for this percentage until it has negotiated a new percentage.

The SABC has made several offers, which were rejected by BEMAWU. In a nutshell we rejected these offers because they [the offers] did not address the implementation of the 12.2%.

The two other [SABC] unions referred disputes to the CCMA as “interest” disputes, whilst BEMAWU referred a “rights” dispute. An interest dispute is something you are not entitled to, but which you believe you can enforce by means on industrial action. A “rights” dispute is something you believe you have a clear right to, which may only be enforced via litigation (CCMA, Court). The other two unions had to abandon their right to the 12.2% increase in order to get permission to go on strike, and they did so at the CCMA and the Labour Court. The Labour Court granted permission for a strike.

BEMAWU still believes its members are entitled to the 12.2% increase and it should be enforced via arbitration. BEMAWU has indeed received a setdown notice for arbitration at the CCMA for 12 August 2009. However, in light of the Labour Court ruling that the dispute is a dispute of interest, BEMAWU approached SABC management yesterday to clarify what its stance would be at the CCMA on 12 August. If we wait until then, and they (the SABC) present the Labour Court ruling it may well be that the CCMA rules that our dispute is a dispute of interest too. BEMAWU will then not be able to proceed with arbitration.

Based on that, and other factors, BEMAWU has decided to ballot its members on a strike. At this point in time it will be a secondary strike; this would be considered a sympathy strike. The outcome of the ballot was in favour of a strike.

The way forward.

Today BEMAWU will give the SABC seven days notice; as required in terms of the Act. A “BEMAWU only” meeting will be held before we embark on any full scale industrial action. At the meeting members will discuss inter alia whether we should indeed proceed with a full scale strike, how this should be approached to maximum effective.

Some members voted against a strike; it is a democratic right to not go on strike and nobody will force or intimidate a member to strike, should we proceed with a strike. We are urging members to please attend the meeting that is scheduled for this week to voice your opinion.. “Come and listen to what others are saying why they want to go on strike. Come and ask questions which cannot be answered and discussed here.”

Most importantly, BEMAWU urges its members not to resign from the union if they do not want to go on strike. By doing so its members are playing into management’s hands in more than one way. It has been said openly that the SABC will have to retrench. “If you are not a union member, no-one will fight for you, and you may become a victim. We are fighting collectively for better conditions of employment for all. But our fist priority will always be our own members.” BEMAWU has made proposals in the past and it has done so again that a higher percentage increase should be awarded to unions members. This will save some money as a third of the bargaining unit is not unionized. Management is on record that they prefer that all employees belong to a union. If you are no longer a union member, you may find yourself in a group that will receive no increase at all, or maybe a lower percentage increase.

BEMAWU is hopeful that it will not be necessary to strike to reach agreement with the SABC. Members are however in control of the mandate, and have voted to proceed with a strike. “If you are prepared to accept a lower increase, we will discuss it in the meeting to follow this week.” BEMAWU will again meet with management and there is a possibility of a meeting with the Minister to try and reach agreement.

The medical doctors went on strike to improve their conditions of employment. They have decided to stand up and fight for not only their livelihoods, but for the sake of their families and because they owe it to them. It is not a crime or a shame to exercise constitutional rights and to strike.

Remember to visit our blog at for instant news and updates. E-mails have become a very cumbersome and difficult way to communicate as it is constantly blocked and delayed.

Monday, 06 July 2009

Strike Ballot outcome

We have counted the votes and 55.11% of our members voted in favour of a strike.

It is a democratic right to participate or to not participate in a strike. If you have voted no, please do not resign from the union just because you do not want to go on strike. If you don't want to strike, you simply continue to work.

Members are in any event bound by agreement to give 1 month's notice. Also, no employee at the SABC should be without a union now, as we have heard SABC Management talking about possible retrenchments. Unions will only take care of their members.

We are hopeful that the matter will be resolved before it is necessary to embark on a full blown strike in 7 days, as we are bound to give 7 days notice, which notice will start tomorrow, 7 July.

We will plan the strike to be very effective and it should be over within a day or two. We will make it a condition that members will be paid for days on strike to call off a strike.

In a meeting today with Gab he promised to come back to us by tomorrow in respect of the remainder of the 8.5%.

Members must please be patient. It's a difference of 3.7%. Remember, we are bound by the same multi-term agreement next year. CPI-X could be 4%, and we will be bound by the agreement to accept 5%. No arbitration, no strike then.

Date for Arbitration

We have received a date for arbitration of the Salary dispute with the SABC. The matter has been set down for 12 August 2009. We will present evidence that our members are legally entitled to the 12.2% increase.

Strike Ballot

On Friday the SABC has tabled what they called a revised offer. The offer is 8.5% immediately backdated to 1 April and a commitment to a further 1.5% with no indication when it will be paid, how it will be paid and if it will be backdated.

This is nothing new.

The SABC has committed itself to CPI-X plus 1%. This is not in dispute. It is also not in dispute that it adds up to 12.2%.

We hear no commitment or negotiations in respect of the difference between 8.5% and 12.2%. Management keeps on saying we know we owe you 12.2%, but they are not prepared to commit on the difference.

The only commitment that came out of the meeting was that they will now take action against managers who have been implicated in audit reports.

We will only believe them once they start suspending those managers.

Please remember to attend the ballot at 12:00 today at K1 Auditorium.

Thursday, 02 July 2009

Meeting on Friday, 3 July 2009

A General meeting will be held on Friday, 3 July 2009 at 13:00 at K1 Auditorium. Regions to be linked-up as usual.

It is important to attend this meeting. At this meeting we would like to get a mandate from you, the members on how to proceed with the salary issue. We would like to know if you still adamant to proceed with a strike, or should we approach the matter differently.

If you do not attend, other people may decide on your behalf.

We are aware of intimidation tactics from management. In particular the threats that they will lock-out all BEMAWU, MWASA and CWU members. We believe this is a flight of their imagination. The SABC will NOT be able to function without 70% of its operational staff.

This is not a threat, but if ANY freelancer is going to agree to perform the work of any striking member, they will no longer enjoy the protection of the unions at the SABC. We call on them to please not accept assignments from the SABC.

We also call on our members to not do the work of any striking employee, as it will work against any attempt to convince the SABC to pay us the 12.2% - a percentage we have an agreement on.

The Acting GCEO, Gab Mampone has requested a meeting with organised labour tomorrow at 10:00.

We will give feedback about that meeting here and in the 13:00 meeting tomorrow.

During a strike the principle of no work, no pay applies. If we decide to go on strike, we have to make sure we are as effective as possible. In doing so, we will make sure striking workings will get paid.

Please do not perform extra work now in order to stock-up programmes. You can refuse to do more than your daily task.

Since the producers out there are not being paid regularly, they are under no contractual obligation to provide the SABC with programs to broadcast. We have joined them in their march to the SABC. We will call on them to stop providing the SABC with material to broadcast during a strike.

BEMAWU will have its own meeting with members to determine support for a strike. We will communicate the date and time for this meeting.

Please make sure we have your correct cell number. Tell friends and colleagues too. Mail it to us at or sms it to us at 0829208669. Please include your name.

We have received new complaints of the misuse of money and fruitless and wasteful expenditure. If you know of new wastage, let us know. Our fax is 0866715585. Send us the information and you don't have to include your name. We will never reveal your identity.

If you know of any audits being done and no action taken, let us know. Now is the time to rid the SABC from all the rot.

Kindly also respond to our SMS's.