National radio and TV dismisses 21 employees, demotes 40

Port Louis- Mauritius (PANA) -- The Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation has sacked 21 of its 550 employees, including two journalists, and demoted some 40 others.
But legal sources reacted on Saturday that those sacked would seek redress in court next week.
"Jemima Maitaram, a journalist would seeks compensation worth 500,000 rupees (about 16,950 US dollars) while Harold Laxade who was demoted to the post of senior news editor would ask for 5 million rupees" (about 169,491 US dollars), lawyer Rama Valayden said.
Valayden charged that the decision of the corporation's board to dismiss and demote some of its employees was politically motivated.
"It is aimed at getting rid of all those who are perceived to be 'Labourite' or anti government.
The intention behind this was to give a warning to all those presently working to toe the line and be subservient to the government if one wants to keep his or her job there," he argued.
According to the chairperson of the board of the corporation, Shirin-Aumeerduddy-Cziffra, the restructuring of the station follows an audit report of human resources made during the past months.
"The (then) director-general has acted ultra-vires by recruiting employees during 1996-2000 without following the proper procedures," the report indicates.
It adds the number of permanent staff rose by 40 percent from 390 to 550 between December 1995 and September 2000.
The report argues that there are several instances where the qualification requirement for certain grades of employees had not been taken into consideration in recruitment exercises.
"This has led to frustration in the organisation among certain categories of staff and staff associations have expressed serious concern regarding unqualified or partly qualified people being recruited particularly in responsible positions," it indicates.
Meanwhile, the director-general of the corporation, Hootesh Ramburn, has assured the public that the MBC was not witch- hunting among its staff.
"They recruited anybody and at any time.
In the majority of the cases these people did not possess the required qualifications, while those who had the qualifications were penalised," he explained to journalists.

12 august 2001 10:55:00

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