The Edo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned the sack of 14 members of staff of Daar Communications Plc, owners of African Independent Television Authority and Raypower.
The workers attached to the Benin centre were reportedly sacked on Monday.
The management had in a letter dated June 2 and signed by the Senior Manager in charge of Human Resources, Mr. Victor Okasoga, also advised the affected staff to surrender “company properties” in their possession.
“Failure to surrender company properties in your possession may delay the processing of your entitlements,” it added.
But the State Chairman of the union, Rowland Osakwe, said that the media outfit erred by sacking its workers without fulfilling its financial obligation.
Osakwe said, “It is not a good thing that you enslave labour and, at month end, you don’t give them their stipend; you are sacking them and not giving them their cheques.
“The act is condemnable; it does not even happen in the animal kingdom these days. We are not going to relent. We will write them a letter and ask the management to pay them (affected workers) their money or we will take a legal step.”
When contacted, the Benin Head of Administration, Daar Communications Plc, Ndah Muhammed, said that the decision to lay off the workers was taken by the management at the head office of the company.
“Please, get in contact with our Head Office. The sacking was not from Benin here; it was from Head Office,” he added.
One of the affected workers, who pleaded anonymity, said that the decision of the company came as a surprise, as both staff and management had met over the payment of their outstanding salaries.
The staff said, “About three weeks ago, the staff of Daar Communications (Plc) met with the management reminding it of its promise to pay us. They said that we should not worry, that the state government was owing them and that when they (government) pays, they will pay us our money. We agreed.
The worker added, “Last two weeks, they called us in a meeting. After talking, they said that anybody who is sick and tire should quietly resign and go home; nobody uttered.
“To our greatest surprise, yesterday, we saw about five Hilux vans of mobile police in our premises. They called us to the accounts section to collect our letters. They gave us a form to fill to pay us our money; we have filled the form but money has not been paid to us.”