Lotus FM full time staff will go on strike tomorrow, 19 August 2009 until further notice. The strike is being organised by BEMAWU, the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union, the union almost all Lotus employees belong to.
Staff are unhappy about the following :
- The fact that the station manager, Ms Gail Samuels gave away a substantial amount of airtime for free, which contributed to the SABC’s massive deficit, and only received a written warning with no civil action against her to recover the fruitless and wasteful expenditure, whilst other SABC employees have been dismissed for less serious offences.
- The fact that the station manager makes decisions that is financially and otherwise not good for the continued existence of the station, like taking the uncles Peru and Bala off-air, for no apparent business and/or economic reason.
- double standards of top and senior management of the SABC when it comes to the station manager of Lotus FM.
- The unfair suspension of the program manager, Santosh Beharie on bogus allegations, and as intimidation and victimisation tactics.
It is not our intention to inconvenience listeners, but we have to save the station. Almost 90% of full time staff at Lotus have requested the SABC to lawfully redeploy Samuel's to another position, (there is currently a suitable position available for her) and to put someone in charge of the station that understands broadcasting and the audiences and who is trusted by the staff. Management have refused to do so as the station manager is protected by Top and Senior Management for some undisclosed reason. We have also demanded that her disciplinary hearing be reviewed by an independent 3rd party. SABC management has refused. Why? Is it because they know they are protecting the station manager and that she was supposed to be dismissed as a result of the serious allegations against her?
Staff are currently very demoralised and their working conditions are unbearable under the management of Samuels.
- We fear that the station’s future may be in jeopardy if it continues to loose advertisers and listeners.As loyal listeners to Lotus FM, we kindly request your support as we go on strike tomorrow for the immediate removal of Ms. Samuels. We request to, in solidarity to save the station from further bad management and fruitless and wasteful expenditure to do the following:
- To electronically put a vote of no confidence in the station manager by voting on our blog at http://bemawu.blogspot.com
- To stop listening to the station for a period of 2 days initially, being tomorrow, the 19th of August and Thursday, the 20th of August.
- To send this e-mail to every other listener you know and convince them to do the same,
- To convince all advertisers to withhold their advertising until our demand is met that the station manager be redeployed,
- To demand that uncles Peru and Bala be put back on air.
The effect of you not listening to the station will result in advertisers not reaching their target audiences, thereby wasting their money to advertise. They will then automatically withdraw their advertising until everything is back to normal, being when Samuels is redeployed.