The South African Screen Federation (SASFED) has thrown its considerable support behind the stance of the Broadcast Electronic Media and Allied Workers’ Union as they fight the implementation by public broadcaster SABC of its restructuring plans.
SASFED, which represents thousands of people from nine industry organisations in the independent television and film industry believes – like BEMAWU – that the SABC has consulted neither the independent industry, nor the unions, with regard to its new operating model and “turnaround initiatives’.
BEMAWU has given written notice of its intention to bring an urgent application in the Labour Court to reverse the SABC’s planned “turnaround’, and will seek a court order compelling the SABC to consult “properly’ with the union. The union said it had taken the action because SABC had “failed to acknowledge receipt of our previous correspondence’, despite repeated requests.
SASFED Vice Chair Marc Schwinges said that SASFED, after canvassing their members, “unanimously supported’ the BEMAWU initiative. Schwinges said that SASFED had also unsuccessfully attempted to engage the SABC with regard to their turnaround strategy earlier this year, but the SABC had reneged on their commitments.
“It’s very frustrating for us as both taxpayers and content providers to see the SABC continuing in their old ways,’ Schwinges said. “We had thought that with a new board the SABC would attempt to engage with the industry at all levels to try and provide a workable solution to enable the SABC to meet it’s public broadcaster mandate. Many of our members have seen their companies to the wall, and many jobs have been lost in the independent industry due to the SABC’s short-sighted attitudes. This cannot continue.’
“Everyone is trying to help, we all want to see a viable broadcaster telling authentic South African stories, yet the SABC continues to destroy itself,’ he said. “We hope that the BEMAWU actions will help bring the SABC to its senses.’