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Publication Details

Reference
Duncan, Jane  (2003) Another journalism is possible: Critical challenges for the media in South Africa. Centre for Civil Society Research Report 10: 1-23.

Summary
On October 10, 2003, the Media Workers' Association of South Africa (Mwasa) called off its threatened strike at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). The strike was to have started on that day, and concerned a dispute about wage increases between SABC management, and the two recognised unions at the Corporation, namely Mwasa and the Broadcasting, Electronic Media and Allied Workers' Union (Bemawu). Management had offered an 8.55% increase, while the unions demanded 11%. The matter went to arbitration, and after failing to agree the unions were issued with a certificate to engage in industrial action.

In objecting to the proposed increase, Mwasa and Bemawu pointed to the huge disparities in salaries at the SABC. The unions considered the settlement level of ordinary working journalists to be unacceptably low in view of the high salaries and bonuses top managers received in the last financial year, and this in spite of the fact that the SABC reported a loss of R32 million. The SABC's Chief Financial Officer Robin Nichols justified these disparities by stating the following:

'When benchmarked against executives from MTN and Johnnic, SABC executives' salaries were not in the same league. We are not overly remunerated but it suits the unions to say so because they can then justify engaging in protest action'.

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