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