SAMRO notes with the concern the on-going labour action by staff members belonging to the Communication Workers Union (CWU), which commenced on Monday, 29 October 2012 in Johannesburg.

The reason for the strike was to demand the reinstatement of the discretionary 13th bonus, referred to by staff as the 13th cheque.

The restructuring of the discretionary 13th bonus was implemented in March 2011, after consultation with staff. This was done as part of SAMRO’s drive to reposition itself as a high-performance organisation. As with all high-performance organisations, the recognition and reward of high performers is essential to the realisation of this goal.

The CWU only reached the required 50%+1 majority status within SAMRO to be afforded recognition in March 2012, a year after the decision had been made to phase out the discretionary 13th bonus. However, SAMRO has been in constant communication with union officials over this issue in a bid to explain the new arrangement.

In restructuring the discretionary bonus, care was taken by management to ensure that the staff members were not prejudiced or left worse off by the restructure, provided that they performed their duties in terms of their employment contracts.  SAMRO staff members are not losing out on the money that was previously paid to them as the lump-sum discretionary 13th bonus; it is merely being split and distributed to them in a different manner. Staff members are also, over and above this, still entitled to an annual performance bonus should they meet their performance targets.

We regret that the strike action by some staff members is going ahead, but SAMRO will continue to deliver services to its members with as little inconvenience as possible.


Sipho Dlamini

General Manager: Marketing, Communications and Business Development

The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO)