Broadcaster Kusakala drags Matindi FM to court: Bishop Sambo fired

Broadcaster Aubrey Kusakala has dragged one of the privately-owned radio stations, Matindi FM to court for withdrawing some of his employment benefits which is contrary to the country’s labour laws.

Kusakala filed his case with Industrial Relations Court (IRC) in Blantyre on Tuesday with the radio the station confirming to have been served with court summons.

In an interview with Nyasa Times, Kusakala who resigned from the radio station in April this year said, he has been forced to sue the radio station owned by businessman Elvis Nserebo after the two parties failed to resolve the matter amicably.

Bishop Sambo fired

Bishop Sambo fired

Kusakala is demanding the station to remit his pension, reimburse fuel expenses he incurred while still its employee, gibe  him notice pay as well as leave days among other damages.

“Matindi FM is failing to pay my pension (they haven’t been remitting the same to administrators since the inception of the radio), they failed to buy me fuel since July 2013 the time I was given a car as regional manager – south,” explained Kusakala.

He added: “I am demanding Leave Days payment as well as Notice Pay of May 2014 since I was forced to stop working the moment I tendered resignation letter on April 28th. I was about to serve a notice of a month, but they were adamant and told me to leave with immediate effect.”

Kusakala’s lawsuit comes after Communications Worker union of Malawi (COWUMA) and Ministry of Labour had failed to intervene.

In a separate interview, Matindi FM Station Director, Chris Laymaman while confirming to have been served with court summons described Kusakala as emotional, arguing “he resigned after he failed to explain certain things.”

“He is emotional with issues. He has refused to resolve the matter amicably. But he will be paid his dues once we have the money,” said Laymaman.

However, the ]broadcaster dismissed accusations that he is emotional, arguing he tried to resolve the issue through COWUMA and Ministry of Labour, and has been forced to involve the court after the radio station’s officials said “are treating the issue in a Malawian way since it is not a priority.”

“It’s all a lie that I am emotional. If it’s like that, I don’t think I could have bothered to involve COWUMA or Ministry of Labour. I wanted to leave the station in October last year but was forced to stay as they promised to improve on how they have been treating me. The reasons for my resignation are not the same as to why I have taken them to court, but rather my money which they are failing to pay.”

Meanwhile, Matindi FM is also on the verge of facing another legal battle for firing one of its broadcasters Chrissie Tafadzwa Kanjira.

Kanjira,  who has once worked for 101 FM and Capital FM, confirmed to Nyasa Times that will be filing her case with IRC on Wednesday.

Kanjira was dismissed from Matindi FM after being on probation for almost 11 months on grounds that she was an underperformer and couldn’t be offered full-time employment.

Laymaman claimed Kanjira was not polite with the radio station’s listenership and that she kept on giving excuses every time when assigned to different duties.

Laymaman said: “She kept on giving excuses when given work to do, and she was confusing our clients. She was spending more time attending to her kids instead of working. Therefore she failed to convince management that she is a right person for Matindi FM after her probation. We don’t have grudges with anybody but we are trying to follow ethics of our job.”

Kanjira, however, dismissed the claims as untrue, saying “They fired me without any proper reason. I tried to ask them, but nobody talked. I am taking them to court.”

Matindi FM has been hit by massive resignations and dismissals since March with Grey Kasunda and Gilbert Moyo editor and senior reporter respectively, resigning in the same month.

Kusakala and Miriam Kaliza resigned in April while Vuto Zamadunga, Memory Gongwa and Bishop Peter Sambo were fired from the station. And another employee, Harvey Chisambo is also claiming his pension from the institution.

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