Cape Town – The SOS Coalition, a civil society pressure group for public broadcasting, is shocked by the SABC’s decision to fire the striking cast of Generations.
The group says the decision is "devastating" to the local TV industry and is asking why the SABC is not doing more to build and retain local TV talent.
"We think it is devastating that the SABC's Generations crisis has escalated to this point. Generations is such an important local production," the SOS Coalition said.
"The SABC should be working with production houses to ensure fair working conditions. It is in the interest of the SABC to build a local production industry that builds and retains local talent. What is the SABC doing to ensure this?" the group asked.
The Generations cast was fired on Monday following a strike they embarked on a week ago.
It was their second strike in 10 months at the soap over exactly the same issues of wanting three year contracts from the SABC as it was promised in 2013, better paying contracts, as well as back payment for rebroadcasts and international sales of the show.
'Devastating adverse impact on viewers'
The Media Workers Association of South Africa (Mwasa) calls the wholesale firing of the cast an "obscene abuse" of corporate power and says that it will have a "devastating adverse impact on viewers" – urging the Generations actors, the SABC and MMSV Productions to set aside the firing of the cast and to talk it out around the negotiating table.
Mwasa says that the mass dismissal of the actors is creating "collateral damage on both sides" and will be negative for the millions of viewers watching the primetime SABC1 soap.
Mwasa says South Africa's creative workers "generate billions of rand for a super-exploitative industry that spits everybody out as soon as the spotlight dims."
"This history of our exploitative creative sector is littered with casualties and victims of the slave-and-master contract system that creates selfish millionaires on one hand and paupers and beggars on the other.
"It seems the preferred approach of the current leadership of the SABC and MMSV Productions is that getting rid of workers amounts to a sustainable solution to the endemic problems regarding contractual relations between the SABC, production companies and workers," Mwasa said.
"It is obscene abuse of corporate power and managerial privilege. Contracts must remain negotiable within reason and in pursuit of the common good."
According to the Mwasa they "fully support the struggle for improved working conditions, for competitive remuneration, for the consideration of fair compensation regarding royalties, rebroadcasts, sales and syndication".
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