Authorities of Television Continental (TVC) have explained that 145 members of staff were sacked as part of the re-positioning measures.
The Board of Continental Broadcasting Services Ltd (CBS), owners TVC and Radio Continental, on Friday issued a statement saying the decision was part of its effort to restructure the enterprises.
According to the statement, the restructuring is geared towards re-positioning the media outfit for better and greater delivery of its services to its audiences and advertisers.
Labour leaders on Saturday described the sack by Continental Broadcast Services Ltd (CBS) as a national embarassment.
Mr Deji Elumoye, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State, also said the sack was unnecessary and embarrassing to the nation.
According to Elumoye, the sack is uncalled for especially at a time when media houses, including TVC, are under-staffed.
”In most media houses, journalists are overworked. One person covers two to three beats and now they have been sacked. It is unacceptable”, he said.
Labour leaders who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria, in Lagos condemned the mass lay-off.
The NUJ chairman said CBS had the right to hire and fire but should have endeavored to pay workers their entitlements before issuing the sack letters.
He said the sack was a wrong way to celebrate the organization’s 10th anniversary achieved by the workers.
The organization should have restructured the management level such as the expatriates who are being paid in dollars rather than sack 80 per cent of the national journalists.
Mr Bobboi Kaigama, President, Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), also condemned the sack in its totality and said that the organized labor would look into it soon.
”The leaders of the NLC and TUC are in Geneva for the International Labour Organisation conference. We will take action on it when we return”, Kaigama said.
The organization however explained that in line with the changes, it would reconfigure its workforce, as part of the rationale to achieve its objectives.
TUC Secretary General, Mr Musa Lawal, told newsmen that the number of workers sacked was unacceptable because it would increase the level of poverty already suffered by the people.
Lawal said that it was not proper for the private sector employer to sack that number of workers at once over little economic shakeup while expatriates are retained and paid in hard currency.
Stressing that the organized labor leaders would look into the issue when they returned from the ILO conference.
However, the CBS management in a statement said the sack was necessitated by the need to restructure the organisation.
Ms Regina Whenu, Associate Consultant to CBS who signed the statement, said; ”this restructuring is geared toward repositioning the business for better and greater delivery of services to audiences and advertisers alike.
‘‘In line with these changes, we are reconfiguring our workforce as part of rationale to achieve our objective”, Whenu said.
She added that the winding up of TVC Africa would allow it to concentrate on key areas of business which include TVC news, TVC Entertainment and Radio Continental, adding that the board of directors had approved a generous severance package for the affected staff, in addition to a programme of assistance to enable them to secure new employment.
The Sack Statement read:
“We wish to make clear that our core channels consisting of TVC News Nigeria, TVC Entertainment and Radio Continental, will now become the main focus of our business going forward, where we will deliver high quality news and entertainment programmes to our audiences and advertisers across Nigeria and beyond.
“The winding down of TVC News Africa will allow us to concentrate on these key areas of our business,” it added.
The statement explained that the CBS Board of Directors has also approved a substantial new investment in its staff across the group of companies which would enable it to substantially enhance its news and current affairs output on TVC News, entertainment programming on the market, TVC general entertainment channel and its key radio asset, Radio Continental.
“For those staff members affected by today’s announcement, the Board of CBS Ltd has approved a generous severance package, in addition to a programme of assistance to enable them seek new employment,’’ the statement said.
The media outfit is reportedly owned by Chief Bola Tinubu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State.
Officials of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Radio, Television and Theatre Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) could not be reached for their reactions.