SABC employees in all nine provinces downed tools at 6am this morning to embark on an official protected strike over salaries.

Employees, most who are part of the BEMAWU and CWU trade unions, are demanding a 10% salary increase, a demand which the board is refusing to meet.

BEMAWU has been in talks with the public broadcaster since 13th October and while most of its list of demands have been met, the most crucial one relating to salaries, is yet to be agreed upon.

“This strike is not only about a salary increase. The strike is also about unresolved grievances, unprocedural restructuring, abuse by management, unilateral change to shift rosters, unilateral change to terms and conditions of employment, abuse of staff in that freelancers are working for years now without any medical aid, pension ,leave, sick leave and other benefits. The strike is about the attitude of management in dealing with staff,” BEMAWU said.

“Our only official demand is a 10% increase. We are not adding demands like the unilateral restructuring  or anything else to the demands. These issues are principle, underlying issues.”

The trade union announced earlier this week that it would embark on a strike from today and invited employees who would like to join them to also down tools.

The union was locked in meetings with SABC management to try and resolve the matter.

“The Board delegation was adamant they will not personally negotiate with BEMAWU, but merely wanted to inform us they want to reopen negotiations, and follow the normal process of putting together a management team to negotiate, securing a venue, bringing representatives from the regions and restart, from scratch negotiations,” it said.

It was agreed between BEMAWU and the SABC that a mediation process would take place this morning and that the strike would be halted, however, employees refused to halt the strike and chose to go ahead with it.

Further details regarding the strike will be communicated later today,