FRCN workers protest poor working conditions in Ibadan, Akure

Workers at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in Ibadan and Akure on Monday held a peaceful protest within their premises to express their grievances at the organisation’s operations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the members of staff in Ibadan trooped out in black outfits to resgister their protest.

Some of the workers’ demands included replacement of obsolete equipment and operational vehicles.

Others were payment of outstanding allowances, expansion of manning levels to enhance promotion of staff, regular training for optimum performance as well as improved staff welfare.

Mr Nofiu Busari, the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ), FRCN Ibadan Chapter, said the essence of the peaceful protest was to draw attention to the state of facilities in the organisation’s stations across the country.

Busari said the protest was being held simultaneously across all FRCN stations in the country.

“We want the Federal Government to hearken to our plea. Our facilities are over 16 years old.

“ No doubt, salaries are being paid as at when due but we want to justify what we are being paid for.

“Members of staff are using their personal funds to facilitate the running of FRCN and this must stop, ”he said.

Adewunmi Faniran, the Chairman of the state council of the NUJ in Oyo State, said there was an urgent need for government intervention in redressing the challenges facing the organisation.

“We are the hen laying the golden egg and as such shouldn’t be killed. We’ve realised that they are eating both the hen and egg.

“NAN, VON, NTA, FRCN and others need help. That they are not talking doesn’t mean all is well in their operations. They are suffering in silence.

“All equipment here at FRCN are obsolete, they are nothing to write home about. In Ibadan here, there are over 20 media outfits.

“We are operating in a competitive environment but with little or no facilities to aid production. We have equipment here in Ibadan that had been in use since the 80s and 90s.

“We want the government without delay to look into our needs and I must emphasise that this protest is not targeted at anyone but for the benefits of members of staff, ” said Faniran who is also a member of staff.

Mrs Bolanle Owoyemi, Deputy Director Marketing, on behalf of the management commended the workers for the peaceful protest, saying “ it was for the good of all members of staff of FRCN.”

She said that the Director was away to the Abuja headquarters of the organisation over the issues raised.

“The management is on top of the development and a meeting is scheduled for today in Abuja over this matter.

“No management wants a down turn in operations; everyone wants a good working environment and I believe everything will be put back in place as soon as possible, ” she said.

In Akure, workers in the organisation also embarked on a peaceful protest at the poor working conditions and obsolete equipment.

The Chairman of FRCN Akure Chapel, Mr John Ebiofini, said no improvement had been made on the equipment at the station since its debut 16 years ago.

Ebiofini said the equipment at the station could not cover the nooks and crannies of the state.

“Today, due to deplorable condition of our outdated equipment, we cannot boast of covering Ondo State where we are located.

“We should be ashamed of ourselves being a Federal Government establishment that is supposed to set the pace for state and private broadcasting houses to follow suit,” he said.

Similarly, the Chairman of the Radio and Television Theatre and Arts Workers Union at the station, Mr Gabriel Afolabi, said the protest was to send signals to the Federal Government through the management.

”There is a big one ahead unless it does everything possible to avert that before the 21-day ultimatum ends,’’ he said.

Also speaking, the NUJ Chairman in the State, Mr James Sowole, urged the Federal Government to send a delegation to assess the deplorable condition under which the workers were carrying out their duties.

Sowole described FRCN as a leading radio station in the country which must not be allowed to collapse due to obsolete equipment and poor working conditions. (NAN)