Staff Sue Abay Radio For Unpaid Salaries

Ten employees claim that they have not been paid since September

Employees of Abay FM Radio, one of the 12 private radio stations, took the company to court by claiming unpaid salaries since September.

Filed on October 30, 2018, at the First Instance Court Kirkos Labour Case Division, the lawsuit claims that the company has failed to pay salaries of employees and benefits, including housing and part-time allowances.

The employees, seven reporters and three technicians, claim that their salaries, ranging from 15,912 Br to 22,264 Br a month, remain unpaid along with damage for three months pas as of compensation.

The suit claims that the plaintiffs sat down with the management of the company for negotiations, and the company, which has 20 employees, entered into an agreement with the employees to pay their salaries by October 25, 2018. They support their claim with two pages of documentary evidence that they submitted to the court.

“On the agreed day the company did not pay our salaries and refused to accept our complaint letter,” reads the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs asked the court to order Abay FM to pay their salaries along with a three-month salary compensation.

In its statement of defence submitted on November 12, 2018, Abay FM, represented by its lawyer, Yibabe Alemayehu, claimed that the company is in a financial crisis and that it was unable to pay the salaries in a timely manner.

“We are discussing with the owners of the company to sort this problem out,” reads Abay’s statement of defence. “However, the three-month compensation the plaintiffs demand seems exaggerated and does not consider the cause of the delay and the situation of the company.”

The station, established in 2014 by HH and TYT Media & Communication, currently runs eight programmes including segments related to entertainment, business and politics. When it became operational four years ago, the radio station aired 15 programmes.

Since last June, the company has cut back on the number of programmes it offers, and three of its employees have resigned.

Abay is one of 95 radio and television broadcasters in the country, 28 of which are privately-owned. Currently, nine FM radio and 12 private television stations are on the air.

Three new radio and two television stations are in the pipeline after securing licenses from the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority. Afri Health Radio, Arada FM and J Radio are in the process of airing their programs, while Bisrat and Asham television stations are broadcasting trial services.

Recently, another broadcaster went off the air as a result of financial difficulties. Founded by an Ethio-Canadian journalist, Benyam Kebede, Ethiopian News Network (ENN) with 100-plus employees but closed its doors early last July.

The court has scheduled the case for a hearing on November 27, 2018, otherwise ordering the two parties to settle their case amicably by November 20, 2018.


Published on Nov 21,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 969]



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