The current economic meltdown in Nigeria might have caught up with one of the media giants in the country, Television Continental (TVC), whose management yesterday laid off about 145 members of its workforce. Though the Lagos based broadcast station had given official reasons for sacking the affected staff, it was gathered that the decision to reduce the workforce was as a result of the huge overhead cost currently being paid to keep an overbloated staff.
While the Human Resources Manager of the company, Stella Obialor, refused to speak on the matter, a top official of the organisation, who craved anonymity, said that the restructuring was long overdue. Declining comment, Obialor said she was not in a position to speak for the company, but referred our correspondent to the Public Relations Manager, whose telephone was switched off as at press time, for official comments.
The editorial official that preferred anonymity lamented that the company was paying as huge as N200 million every month as wages and salary despite the economic downturn and had not owed salaries despite the cash crunch. Prominent faces on the television set were said to be among those that were laid off, as the station could no longer cope with a burgeoning workforce. “It is understandable. It is an issue that had been pending and somehow, it had to happen. They were laid off as a sacrifice, so that the company will not fold up. We were paying as much as N200 million every month just for salary alone. That figure is huge. And you know that we are not owing anybody salary.
“This is the tenth year I have been working with the company, they have not owed me for one day. It is a tough choice but it is an option that would save the company from collapse,” the official said. When queried on the identity of the affected staff, the source said: “They would soon be known when they are no longer visible on the scene.
The affected staff, it was gathered, includes outstation reporters across the 36 state of the federation, as the company had bureau offices in virtually all the states in Nigeria. A lot of outstation staff were said to be among those that were at the meeting yesterday as some of them reportedly arrived the Lagos headquarters on Thursday, only for them to be given the bombshell yesterday.
A visit to the area showed an uneasy calm with the presence of policemen, who were believed to be hanging around the vicinity on the orders of the company’s management for fear of backlash. Some fierce-looking professional bouncers were also seen at strategic positions, ready to ward off attacks from would-be aggrieved workers.
In its official statement, the board of Continental Broadcasting Services Ltd (CBS), owners of Television Continental (TVC) and Radio Continental, said the restructuring of its group of companies affected the staff. This restructuring, according to a statement from the company issued by its public relations agency, Brooksandblake, is geared towards repositioning the business for better and greater delivery of its services to audiences and advertisers alike.
“In line with the changes, 145 workers will be affected by the reconfiguring the workforce as part of the rationale to achieve the new objectives. “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 concentrate on these key areas of our business.