Generations is one of SABC’s flagship shows. The award winning soap pulls in millions of viewers every night and the stars on the show have become some of the most recognisable faces in South Africa. While the show usually stays winning, it hasn’t been without its fair share of controversy. Last year the principal cast members embarked on a strike because of a wage dispute. It looked like everything was back on track – or so it appeared as if it was. That is no longer the case though because the stars have once again embarked on strike action. They’ve been threatened instant dismissal if they don’t report for duty. Their response? They didn’t report for duty – and rightfully so.
If what was agreed upon initially isn’t met, then why would you agree to such terms? This is their livelihood. My opinion. Here’s an official press release issues:
Generations Principal Cast Embarks on Strike Action
In a continuation of the legal action first set in motion in October 2013, the principal cast of Generations has embarked on a strike as of Monday, 11th August, 2014. The strike is in response to the production company, MMSV Productions and SABC’s failure to address the terms that all the parties agreed to in November 2013, which resulted in the cast returning to work.
The cast explains: “We are essentially in exactly the same position we were in last October when we first went on strike. Nothing has been resolved. We came back to work after the first strike in good faith, on the understanding that all the issues that we’d brought up would be addressed by the SABC by this past March– a date that they set. Since then, they have missed their own deadline, and pushed the date out, with no discernable resolution to our grievances in sight. Instead, we’ve been ordered back to work and threatened with dismissal, with no explanation of why our issues have not been resolved .”
The principal issues that drove the cast to the original strike, which remain unresolved are:
- Cast members to receive 3-year contracts – (especially in light of the fact that the intensity of the shooting schedule means that the cast is virtually exclusively committed to Generations, and effectively unable to pursue other projects to supplement their income.)
- The payment of royalties and syndication fees for episodes of Generations that are broadcast in various countries worldwide – as per contractual agreements, and international best practice.
- MMSV Productions and SABC to review the payment rates, rationalize and bring them in line with industry standards and norms.
The timeline of the strike action reads as follows:
- October 2013 – Cast embarks on legal action and strike over the aforementioned issues (amongst others)
- November 2013 – an in-principle agreement is reached between the cast, the SABC and MMSV Productions, where the SABC & MMSV Productions commit to resolving the cast’s issues by March 2014, on the basis that the cast returns to set and continues to work. Based on this commitment, cast returns to work.
- March 2014 – the SABC and MMSV Productions requests an extension to July 31st, 2014 to resolve the issues and respond to cast. Cast agrees to the extension, and continues to work.
- July 31st, 2014 – once again, deadline elapses, this time, with no indication from the SABC and MMSV Productions as to what their promised resolution to the issues is.
- August 11th, 2014 – in light of SABC and MMSV Productions failure to honour their commitment to address their grievances, cast revives strike and legal action.
- August 12th 2014 – SABC sends a communication to the casts legal representation ordering the cast to report to duty by August 13th 2014 or face immediate dismissal – with no reference whatsoever to their unfulfilled commitment to address casts grievances. Cast declines to return to set.
“This action isn’t something we embarked on lightly.” The cast explains. “this is both our livelihood and our passion. Working on Generations is something we take extremely seriously – we only wish the broadcaster and the production house took us as seriously. We have continuously worked in good faith with them, choosing to believe that they would honour their commitments – it’s unfortunate that they have failed to do that. We deeply regret the inconvenience to our fans and loyal viewers, but feel strongly about taking a principled stand about fundamental labour issues that our employers seem not to be taking seriously – instead, they threaten us with dismissal. It is our fervent hope that these issues are resolved sooner rather than later. We are eager to get back to work. ”
The casts legal representative, Bulelani Mzamo of Mzamo Attorneys adds “There are a number of issues that caused this strike, and the cast understood that some would require long-term responses, while others could be resolved within the timelines that the SABC themselves set. It is a real pity that the SABC and MMSV Productions have consistently failed to meet their own deadlines, and now seemingly choose not to deal with the cast’s issues at all. They left the actors little choice but to revive the strike. We hope for a swift resolution.”
The cast embarking on the action are:
- Anga Makubalo (MJ Dlomo)
- Atandwa Kani (Samora Lembede)
- Katlego Danke (Dineo Dlomo)
- Mandla Gaduka (Selwyn ‘Choppa’ Maithufi)
- Menzi Ngubane (Sbusiso Dlomo)
- Nambitha Mpumlwana (Mawande )
- Patrick Shai (Patrick Tlaole )
- Slindile Nodangala (Ruby Dikobe)
- Sophie Ndaba (Queen Ndaba)
- Seputla Sebogodi (Kenneth Mashaba)
- Thami Mngqolo (Senzo )
- Thato Molamu (Nicholas Nomvete )
- Winnie Ntshaba (Khetiwe Buthelezi)
- Zenande Mfenyana (Noluntu Memela)
- Zikhona Sodlaka (Priska Nomvete)
- Zolisa Xaluva (Jason Malinga )
Issued on behalf of the Generations Actors Guild by Dreamcatcher
So what do you make of this? Do you care? I say good for them. Fight for what is right and what they believe in.