Covering the New Year’s eve countdown activity at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront on Wednesday, Asia Television Ltd. (ATV) news reporter Lee Jing-yu concluded an evening broadcast by wishing her audience “a happy 2015 that comes with rewards”.
The unusual closing remarks, delivered in a trembling voice, mirror the difficult situation that ATV employees are currently facing as they still await half their November salary as well as the entire pay for month of December.
Lee noted that she had been the anchor for the “Good Morning Asia” program for a year and that she had mixed feelings when the program ceased airing recently, Ming Pao Daily News reported Friday.
Lee, who is leaving ATV soon, said she hoped that the salary issues could be resolved as soon as possible as fellow staffers had worked hard and stood by their posts professionally.
ATV senior vice president Yip Ka-bo, who had earlier said that employees could receive the remainder of their November salary on January 5, on Thursday changed his stance by saying he cannot guarantee that the promise will be met on Monday.
Yip also revealed for the first time that the TV station is in talks with buyers over an asset sale.
On Thursday, only eight reporters came to work, including two who are normally stationed in Guangzhou and Beijing, a third less than the full roster. According to Assignment Editor Chan Kwok-yeung, over 10 people from the news department might be planning to leave the company in the coming few days.
Chan admitted that morale in the office is low but insisted that the staff will work proactively.
Matthew Cheung, Secretary for Labour and Welfare, said the Labour Department has already commenced prosecution procedures against ATV for not paying staff salaries on time.
ATV has halted airing “Good Morning Asia” and “News Update” from Jan. 1, while cutting the duration of “Noon News” to 12 minutes and “ATV News at Six” to 16 minutes.
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