GENERATIONS core actors are clearly fed-up with the production’s contacts and have decided to sit out on the shooting of the 2–year-old soapie, reported the Sowetan yesterday.
Today the stars, including Sophie Ndaba, Katlego Danke, Anga Makubalo, Menzi Ngubane, Zenande Mfenyana, Mandla Gaduka, Winnie Modise and Maggie Bennedict got the backing of the Creative Workers Union of South Africa (CWUSA) – who said they were outraged by arrogance of executive producer of Generations.
The statement released by the union, opens with a message that they are “deeply disturbed by the media reports that reflect the highest level of arrogance in the manner in which Mfundi Mvundla, the Executive Producer for the SABC’s Generations, has responded on the issue of the actors’ strike”.
Vundla was quoted in the Sowetan report saying that “I feel like a gun has been held to my head, because there is no way I will give people extended contracts without clauses”.
“I will never negotiate that right to hire new people, otherwise Generations will die,” said Vundla.
And this is what the CWUSA said:
We are appalled by the autocratic approach that seeks to reverse even the gains of our recent and highly publicized engagement with SABC on the matter of decent contracts that provide certainty for creative workers and in this instance, being the actors.
CWUSA was party to the drafting of the existing contracts for actors and if there is a need to amend the contents and the outlook of the contract, why are we now not party to the alterations? We ought to be directly involved in that process and not to be treated as spectators.
We reject with contempt the top-down approach exercised by Mfundi Mvundla and the arguments made by him in favour of the imposed changes on the contracts.
We call upon the SABC to do the honourable thing, display leadership and call all the affected stakeholders into a joint sitting.
We believe that it is high time that SABC and its stakeholders must decisively confront this great lack of transformation especially in the part of creative workers who have been and still continue to be subjected to these unjust conditions of being permanent casual workers.
We call upon the SABC viewers to support the actors’ course towards:
- Their liberation from exploitative work conditions,
- Improved terms and conditions of their contractual obligations,
- Long contractual terms to afford them equal access to financial and other credit benefits,
- Equitable employment with long serving actors accumulating some form of ownership and social benefits like retirement packages,
- Access to training and developmental programmes through subsidization,
- Protective measures and standardized procedures concerning resolving of disputes, disciplinary hearings and appeals between actors and producers.
We trust that SABC will act speedily in resolving these matters through an all inclusive and interactive engagement with all stakeholders.
We hope the issue is resolve speedily because over six million viewers will be affected if all things are not back in order soon.
Generations actors are contracted under the SABC standard freelance contract. They are therefore not employees but independent contractors who do not fall under our Labour Laws. They therefore do not have the right to strike. If they do, they violate their contracts and they can be sued by the production company and the SABC for damages caused to the production. CWUSA has clearly forgotten the ruling of the Labour Court when they took Tony Kgoroge’s case against Mnet to that Court. The Labour Court ruled that he was not an employee of Mnet but an independent contractor.