Barely three months after take off, NewCruise 92.7 FM, an Ikere-Ekiti based radio service owned by a former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, Wole Olanipekun, on Monday sacked 13 workers.
The radio station is a division of WOLDAB Communications Limited owned by the lawyer. It is the first radio station in Ekiti established outside the state capital, Ado Ekiti. It started operation in March and went on full transmission on April 14.
The 13 workers said their appointments were terminated without the management serving them due notice as stated in their employment letters.
A copy of one of the employment letters seen by PREMIUM TIMES states: “Either party can terminate the employment by giving one month notice or paying one month salary in lieu of Notice. However, the employee reserves the right to terminate the employment on any act of misconduct on the part of the employee.”
In the sack letters dated May 31 but distributed on Monday, the organisation did not state the reason for the termination of appointment. It merely said the services of the workers were no longer needed as a result of recent reorganisation.
“Sequel to the recent reorganisation of the establishment, I regret to inform you that your services are no longer needed.
“Kindly hand over the company’s property in your care to the Administrative Officer, while wishing you all the best in your future endeavour,” the letter reads.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the workers were also not paid May salary.
One of the sacked workers who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said:
“The station is barely three months old, it started operation in March. To lay people off barely three months shows that you are not prepared for it.”
The sacked worker said most of them left their previous works after the radio station made them “better offers.”
He said Mr Olanipekun assured the new employees during their training that he had set aside money for their salaries for the next six months.
Another sacked worker said their salaries had earlier been slashed in March and April from what was promised them.
He also revealed that the management had announced that salary for May would be slashed too.
Rotimi Ojomoyela, the Ekiti State chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), confirmed the incident and expressed his unhappiness over the situation.
“Journalism in Nigeria is an endangered profession, nobody gives you notice they will send you home. And that has always been the bane of media industries in the country,” he said.
“The radio station you are referring to, it’s quite unfortunate that it has to go like that. They were asked to go and some of them that retained their salaries were slashed by half.”
“It’s a very terrible thing and it’s a thing that one is not particularly proud of. It’s unfortunate that our colleagues could be subjected to this kind of inhumane treatment where labour laws no longer apply where people just hire and fire the way they like.
“Some of our colleagues are even working without pay in some media houses for 2 to 3 years without salary and they are there.”
Mr Ojomoyela said the union planned to visit the station and have a discussion with the management.
“We share the feelings of our colleagues that were laid off unfortunately it’s a new radio station. Perhaps they have not been making anything there could be a lot of reasons for them asking to work away for a while,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want to criticize the management negatively because there is a possibility that some of them might be recalled so I wouldn’t want to be too harsh. So we are looking for a way to talk to them whether we can extract little promises from them on behalf of these our colleagues,” he added.
Radio station reacts
In a brief telephone conversation with Premium Times, NewCruise FM Head of station, Jide Ogunluyi, denied that any staff was laid off.
When confronted with a copy of a sack letter signed by the station’s Admin Officer, Babatunde Daramola, he said: “Well, we have no Babatunde Daramola. Is that clear?” and he hung up on our reporter.
Refuting Mr Ogunluyi’s claim, a sacked officer confirmed Mr Daramola’s position as the admin officer of the radio station.