The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) says it has concluded its Section 189 process after an extensive six-month consultation process.
After considering all options to minimise the total number of affected employees, the SABC said it has further reduced the number of affected redundant employees to 303 – just under half of the originally projected 600 redundancies.
However, the final numbers of redundancies are dependent on the acceptance of the proposed alternatives and the number of employees who will opt for Voluntary Severance Packages (VSPs) and early retirement.
This process comprised 48 consultations, including seven CCMA-facilitated consultative sessions, nine bilateral sessions, 28 divisional structure consultative sessions and four facilitated sessions by an Independent Labour Expert.
This Section 189 process exceeded the minimum legislative requirements of 60 days and four sessions and was finalised on 6 November 2020.
However, on 23 November 2020, the SABC Board suspended the execution of the process by 30-days to enable management to further engage directly with employees on the proposed structures. The extended consultation process ended on 31 December 2020.
Despite the delays, the SABC said it is satisfied that the Section 189 process can withstand any legal scrutiny.
As confirmed by the Labour Court on 2 December 2020 the SABC ‘properly conducted itself in the process, provided all consulting parties with sufficient information and constructively engaged with a view to reach consensus on all the consultations’.
“The SABC acknowledges that the retrenchment process was difficult for all stakeholders and emotionally-charged at times.”
The national broadcaster also acknowledged that the extended process also created prolonged uncertainty.
“However, it was a necessary part of the SABC’s turnaround plan to reposition the public broadcaster, ensure its stability and financially sustainability and allow the SABC to execute its public mandate to serve all the people of South Africa in all our languages and across all platforms,” it said.