Gemma Holliani Cahya, Jakarta – Journalists and activists lambasted an Indonesian television network, NET TV, after hearing that the station, which offers free-to-air entertainment programs, is inviting its staff members to file resignation letters.
"We want NET TV to comply with the labor law [on employee termination]. We also urge NET TV employees to reject [the invitation] if the company invites them to file their resignation letters with the company. Tell the company to do the laying-off according to the law and give the employees their severance payments," the head of the Jakarta chapter of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI Jakarta), Asnil Bambani, told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
On Friday, news that NET TV would conduct massive lay-offs circulated on the internet. The news was immediately refuted by Azuan Syahril, the chief operating officer of the TV broadcaster, PT NET Mediatama Indonesia.
"We will not do any massive lay-offs; there will be no such thing. What we are doing is – because nowadays the competition has gotten fiercer – we are making new strategies for the company and that includes our strategy on human resources," Azuan said on Friday, as quoted by kompas.com.
"We are not terminating them but instead we are offering to give benefits to our employees who want to resign," he added.
The executive director of the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers), Ade Wahyudin, criticized the company's plan, saying that it was just a scheme to avoid the high costs that it would have to bear should it use the regular lay-off mechanism that includes providing employees with severance payments.
"Employees who resign would not get any severance pay and that, of course, would disadvantage the employees," Ade said.
Asnil also said that NET TV should not blame their failure to manage their business on market competition. "They just have to admit it they mismanaged their business; don't blame the market," he said.
The lay-off news circulated on the internet and trended on Twitter, with #NetTV retweeted more than 5,400 times as of Saturday afternoon.
Support flooded in for the TV crew from Twitter users who said they hoped the company would survive and continue to entertain the nation.
"Please Twitter do your magic. Let's make #savenettv trend. Compared to the other TV stations only NET TV gives us high-quality entertainment programs. I'm so heartbroken," account @vqtaa tweeted.
Meanwhile support was also sent to NET Mediatama's official twitter account.