Employees demand salaries after shutdown of TVB Europe channel

January 14, 2015 11:13
A screen shot from the TVB Europe website shows some of its flagship programs. The company says its overseas pay-TV business has been undercut by illegal websites and unauthorized set-top boxes. Photo: http://www.tvbeurope.co.uk/

Dominant Hong Kong television broadcaster TVB is facing demands for compensation from employees caught out by its surprise decision to close its British and European operations.

They are demanding payment of their November and December salaries, estimated at 50,000 pounds (US$75,842), Metro Hong Kong reported Wednesday.

TVB announced the shutdown on Dec. 9, throwing 30 employees in Britain and three in France out of work. The closure of Chinese Channel Ltd. took effect immediately.

The employees took their grievances to British authorities, accusing TVB of ignoring their interests, the report said.

The shutdown came after reports TVB had paid an unspecified amount to buy the rights to several classic Cantonese films from troubled rival ATV which has been plagued by issues over staff salaries.  

TVB said its overseas pay-TV business had been seriously undercut by illegal websites and unauthorized set-top boxes in recent years, leading to the decision to close the operation.

It said staff payments are being processed by liquidators.

An employee who had worked in the company for 10 years said she is not expecting any payment until at least the middle of February.

Meanwhile, she and her colleagues are struggling to make ends meet, the report said. 

TVB launched its Chinese-language European channel in 1994, becoming the first Chinese television operator to broadcast Hong Kong programs all day in Europe.

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