FAJ supports MWASA’s SABC picket


The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the African regional grouping of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), has backed the Media Workers Association of South Africa (MWASA), which last week picketed the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), to regain trade unions’ rights and legitimate recognition.

On 19 September, MWASA staged a picket outside the Johannesburg headquarters of SABC and handed over a memorandum of demands to SABC group CEO Lulama Mokhobo and several other senior executives.

“We demand equal treatment of all staff, respect for the right to freedom of expression and association as well an end to favouritism for special preferred unions. The SABC must reimburse subscription dues illegally remitted to other unions from which our members have long resigned,’ MWASA’s memorandum stated.

MWASA general secretary Tuwani Gumani said: “We handed over our memorandum of demands and the SABC has 14 days to respond. If they don’t we will take much stronger action against them,’ said Tuwani Gumani, MWASA general secretary. “The SABC confirmed that our numbers meet the threshold requirements. It is unacceptable that the SABC’s future be compromised simply for the joyride of excluding MWASA from constructive and results-driven social dialogue within the SABC.’

“While we welcome the recent decision to lift the ban on MWASA, we are very much concerned about the way and manner in which MWASA and its members have been treated,’ said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President. “We wholeheartedly support and extend our solidarity to MWASA for its fight to get its trade union rights reinstated’.

According to MWASA, South Africa’s public broadcaster failed to recognise the choice of employees who had indicated to management their preference for MWASA membership as early as 31 May.

“The failure of SABC to appreciate the core details and nuances of the inalienable Right to Freedom of Association which entitles employees to choose a union of their choice is a major concern and a serious indictment of the flawed governance of the public institution,’ added Osman. “It seems to us that there have been clear violations of the principles of freedom of association, the right to organise and the right to collective bargaining at the SABC.’

“Our immediate and unconditional return to these constructive engagement processes will constitute the first strides towards achieving an SABC that Works. The ball is now firmly in the court of the SABC and we pray that sense prevails in less than the 14-calendar days,’ added Gumani.

FAJ calls on SABC CEOr and the board members to end unfair treatment of MWASA and its members, and to allow MWASA to take part in the social dialogue.

“We deplore attacks and unfair treatment against MWASA members because of their membership of the organisation of their own choice. This is an affront to human and trade union rights,’ added Osman. “SABC must recognise MWASA as a bona fide union that has undisputed membership at the public broadcaster and the Association must be allowed to represent its members.’


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