Union’s bid to declare SABC retrenchments unvalid fails

Bemawu has lost its fight to have the SABC's section 189 consultation process declared unlawful and invalid.

Independent Online has reported that The Labour Court has dismissed the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union’s (Bemawu) bid to have the SABC's section 189 consultation process declared unlawful and invalid.

Bemawu had approached the court on an urgent basis following the public broadcaster's plans on a retrenchment process which will affect 400 workers. It also called for the withdrawal of redundancy letters sent to SABC employees.

But the court dismissed the bid with costs

The SABC said this decision validated its retrenchment process and proved that the Section 189 process had been procedurally fair and afforded all stakeholders ample opportunity to engage meaningfully.

“The SABC conducted 16 consultative sessions over 4 months with multiple stakeholders, 7 of those were facilitated by independent CCMA commissioners. The SABC used these sessions as a platform to meaningfully engage in a joint consensus-seeking process. The SABC is committed to a fair and transparent process,” said the public broadcaster in a statement.

In an interview with Jacaranda FM, BEMAWU president Hannes Du Buisson said the union was unhappy with the ruling, stating that the Labour Court had failed to understand its case.

“We are of the view that the judge has no proper understanding of our case and that our case should have not been dismissed. We are of the view that it is technically incorrect in law when there is an admission by the SABC or there was no denial on their side,” he said, adding that the union will study the judgement and decide whether it will appeal this particular ruling.

The SABC’s retrenchment process has been suspended until the end of December 2020.