Depending on family members and using weekends to animate events or work as masons and electricians. Those are several of the measures taken by some journalists, cameramen and other workers of four radios and one channel seized, to survive the payment of their salaries. The complaints about the lack of salaries on time were accentuated after the announcement of the manager of Public Media, Andrés Michelana, about the millionaire economic losses in two of the main media: TC Televisión and Gamavisión.
The most affected are the employees of the Super K800, Revolution, Carousel and La Prensa radios. They just received on Friday, November 17, 2017, the remuneration corresponding to September. The workers of Cablevisión, a company that is already in dissolution and liquidation, also received that day their pending payment for the second half of September. On Monday, during a visit of this newspaper to the complex where the four radio stations operate, in the north of Guayaquil, part of the 50 employees grouped together to relate the “painful situation”. One of them is the journalist Rodolfo Enríquez, who works as an editor on Radio Carrusel.
He is 51 years old and has six years of work on the radio; is a person with reduced mobility due to a disability. He says that for a year and a half, together with his companions, he has been living “a situation of fright”. In his case, he says, he has had to ask for loans with high interest or to depend on the “good will” of relatives, in order to support his three children of 19, 16 and 11 years.
“We always lend us a dollar for the bus or we help each other when someone needs medicines or feed their own,” says another collaborator, who requested anonymity. He affirms that he has even had to take advantage of his free time to animate events or do occasional journalistic work to help his wife. “It is impossible to live almost three months without a salary.”
Carlos Usategui is in charge of the four radios, since September. Explains that there are 50 workers, 11 with services provided and 39 enrolled. It recognizes that the debt with the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security is USD 370,000 for 25 months of delay. Meanwhile, in the Internal Revenue Service there is a debt of USD 120 000. Precisely, the case has generated problems for workers because they have been unable to borrow money.
According to Usategui, the fall of radios began in the previous government, because it affected them to be linked to “cadenas y sabatinas” In the case of issuers, we want to analyze losses similar to those that were revealed by TC and Gamavisión. “There is an estimated loss of one million,” he says. Michelena had reported that since 2008, the year of its seizure, Gamavisión recorded losses of USD 17 million. While TC showed a loss of USD 6 million until last August. He had pointed out that there was not the “least doubt” that under the administrations of the previous government “the public media was handled in a propagandistic and mediocre, wasteful and indolent manner”.
At Cablevisión, the situation of workers is similar. Galo Arbeláez, national secretary of the Committee, comments that 70 employees have problems due to delays. One of them is Emilio Avendaño, 47 years old. He is the director of cameras, but for two years he has worked as an electrician to survive. In the channel he spends most of his time without work, since programming is not broadcasted, so he aspires to be liquidated, according to current regulations. Jorge Kalil, who is since last September manager of Corporate Control of the seized companies, assures that the Company Coordinator of Public Companies has defined strategies to capitalize the means to be able to cancel the money in default.
It is foreseen that on the 24th of this month -says Kalil- the 50 employees of the four radios and from Cablevisión will be payed their salaries for October and the one for November, the 1st of December. At Cablevisión, the payroll for the fortnight amounts to USD 26,000 and 28,000, and the end of the month to USD 34,000, according to the executive. In radios, the payroll of affiliated personnel is approximately USD 30,000 each month.
Two weeks ago, Jorge Kalil met with officials of the National Financial Corporation (CFN). There he learned in detail the values that workers owe for the purchase of shares in TC (10%) and Gamavisión (4.5%) in 2011. According to the CFN, the capital debt of Gamavisión employees is USD 301 269 The workers who own the percentage of shares of the channel formed a trust. In TC, the debt is USD 4 518 686. In both cases, the value can be canceled up to 15 years, with annual payments and 5% annual interest. Kalil explains that they already have the funds to make payments and make installments to that debt. Next week he will have another meeting with CFN managers and TC and Gamatv managers “to establish the corresponding guidelines to settle those issues,” Kalil adds. In October, the government made transparent the losses of the seized media and criticized the propaganda management they had during the previous regime. A total restructuring was announced. (I)