South Africa soap actors fired for 'illegal' strike

AFP
The logo of South African Broadcasting Corporation at its headquarters in Johannesburg on October 20, 2010
The logo of South African Broadcasting Corporation at its headquarters in Johannesburg on October 20, 2010 (AFP Photo/Stephane de Sakutin)

Johannesburg (AFP) - Sixteen actors of South Africa's popular TV soap drama, Generations, have been sacked for staging an "illegal" strike, the public broadcaster and the production company said Monday.

The cast walked off the set a week ago demanding better pay and royalties.

The production company MMSV Productions said in a statement that it had "terminated the contracts of the striking actors".

South African Broadcasting Corporation(SABC) spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said the cast had ignored two deadlines to return to work over the past week, forcing the broadcaster to order the production house to cancel their contracts.

"The strike that was on was illegal," Kganyago said on SABC radio SAfm.

"We gave a deadline for Wednesday last week, then they did not come back... and we further gave them until today," he said.

Set in Johannesburg, Generations is South Africa's most viewed and longest running soap, having launched in 1994, the year Nelson Mandela took over the reigns of the country after the end of apartheid.

SABC said the dismissal of the stars would not disrupt the soap which is aired during prime time, every weekday on television.

The cast members of the country's leading soap, watched by millions each day, had last year downed tools twice over similar demands.