Asia Television Limited is to lay off all its staff, the broadcaster’s liquidator announced on Monday afternoon.
The news was confirmed by Derek Lai Kar-yan, China’s Southern Region managing partner at Deloitte, after a meeting at the television station’s Tai Po studios. Lai said that ATV will then rehire some of its key staff, such as technicians in charge of broadcasting programmes, to keep its basic operations running. Sources cited by RTHK said that ATV employees are currently drafting a statement in support of the decision.
More details would be revealed at a press conference to be held on Monday evening, RTHK reported.
Senior ATV public relations manager Jeff Wong Sau-tung said that management level staff were all heading to the High Court in order to take legal action to keep ATV running.
However, Wong did not disclose whether they had applied for an injunction to prevent the company’s liquidation.
A group of employees have also submitted a petition to the judge, saying that they give their full support to ATV’s new investor, China Culture Media International. They also said that as professional journalists, no matter what difficulties they face, they must continue broadcasting the news and fulfil their responsibilities as journalists.
The TV broadcaster has been plagued with a series of scandals in recent years. In December, ATV’s executive director Ip Ka-po resigned after the company failed to pay all its employees their November wages by the deadline.
After ATV failed to pay its staff their December and January wages, employees sought help from the Labour Department and some left their posts. The TV station suspended its news broadcast earlier this month and only its Chinese newcasts were later resumed.
Last week, the Communications Authority moved to suspend the broadcast licence of the beleaguered broadcaster for 30 days, although the suspension may not take effect before its licence is due to expire on April 1.