SABC staff are set to resume strike action over wage increases, but the broadcaster has released a statement saying there’s no more money available.

Talks were held at the weekend between the SABC, Broadcasting, Electronic, the Media and Allied Workers’ Union (Bemawu), the Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) and the SABC. The broadcaster made an offer of a 4.5% salary increase, which was rejected by the unions.

SABC workers have demanded a 10% wage increase with strikes set to take place today, but the broadcaster says it simply doesn’t have the funds to meet this target.

“It can’t be right to say that our offer of 4.5% is a punishment,” SABC spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago told EWN. “We do not have the money. If we offer them a percentage we can’t afford, we’ll end up with a situation where we can’t pay them.”

The strikes come at a particularly tricky time for the SABC. This weekend is the ANC party conference, and given the mudslinging, scandals and political back-biting that has been dominating the headlines of late, it looks like this year’s conference might be something of Rubicon moment for the party. In other words, this strike comes at possibly the worst possible time for the SABC.

It’s likely that the SABC can’t meet the 10% wage increase, as news emerged this year that the broadcaster had applied for a R3 billion bail-out from the government after posting a R509 million loss during the end of the last financial year quarter.