Some members of staff of Daar Communications Plc, owners of African Independent Television, AIT, and RayPower FM Radio on Thursday shut down all broadcasting activities at the organization’s Benin station in protest over unpaid salary arrears stretching over a year.
The workers, numbering about 50 blocked the main entrance to the station located along the Benin/Lagos bypass, but were prevented from breaking the law by a detachment of anti-riot policemen who were called up by the management of the station.
Sources say the protesting workers of AIT and Ray Power were being owed salaries spanning between 12 and 17 months.
One of the protesting workers who did not want his name in print to avoid victimization said that newly employed staff of AIT were being owed 12 months while old staff were yet to be paid salary arrears for 13 months and staff of the Raypower FM, the Radio arm of the broadcast outfit were owed 17 months.
“The stations generate millions of naira on a daily basis, so there is no reason why we should not be paid our salaries. They have no excuse not to pay us our money.
“It is wickedness and man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. We have families to care for and children to pay their school fees. Many of our children have stopped going to school. But their own attend schools abroad.
“Look at where our station is located, in another village so far away from Benin City. You have to charter a taxi cab for not less than N500.00 to get there if you miss the staff bus.
“And not even every cab driver will agree to go there because of the wrong location of the station, yet, they expect us to be there every day, whether you have anything to do or not”.
Chairman of the organization, Raymond Dokpesi (Jnr) reportedly appealed for calm and assured that the management would do everything possible to clear parts of the salary arrears within one week.