The SABC board has suspended its plans to retrench hundreds of workers amid a week of tensions that saw unions threatening to strike.

The public broadcaster announced that it would suspend the plans to retrench 400 workers for a week to allow for further consultations.

Seapolelo said “The board of the SABC would like to announce that it will suspend the S189 process for a period of 7 days. This will allow all stakeholders to further engage and explore further options in an effort to ensure the financial sustainability of the SABC. The SABC is committed to meaningfully engaging with all its stakeholders as it continues to make the corporation financially sustainable in order to fulfil its public mandate”.

The SABC decision had led to divisions in the board with deputy chairperson Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi coming out to say that some of the board members did not support the retrenchment of workers.

However, board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini said this was a collective decision and the axing of 400 workers would save the SABC cash.

The Communication Workers Union has threatened to go on strike.

COSATU has come out to support the CWU with another affiliate NEHAWU backing the communications union.

The Broadcasting Electronic Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) has gone to the labour court to oppose the decision to retrench workers.

The ANC and its alliance partners Cosatu and SACP met this week and also called for the SABC to halt the retrenchments.

They said the workers’ jobs must be protected and other means must be found to save cash.

The SABC this week announced that it incurred another financial loss of millions of rands.