South Africa’s embattled public broadcaster said Tuesday that it was suspending retrenchments of around 400 employees until the end of December to allow ongoing consultations with workers unions to take place.The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said in a statement that the decision to shelve plans to lay off workers “followed further engagements with organised labour and other stakeholders.”
“During this period, the SABC management and its employees will jointly work with all participating parties to further review the proposed structures with the intent to ensure they are optimal and enabling to achieve the public mandate of the SABC,” the broadcaster said.
The decision to extend the retrenchment deadline followed Monday’s meeting involving Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi and the SABC board and management to discuss the planned layoffs.
The Ministry of Communications said the two ministers implored the SABC board and its executive management to go back to the negotiation table “with the aim of ensuring that all available opportunities are thoroughly explored prior to engaging on a retrenchment process.”
The SABC has announced plans to retrench as many as 400 employees as part of efforts to stay afloat in the face of a crippling financial crisis.
The plans have triggered unrest at the SABC, with outraged workers staging protests and accusing management of not properly consulting them before taking the decision.