ATV wage saga: 600 former staff of Hong Kong broadcaster have now been paid
New investor buys up debts of most, while 110 are helped by the Labour Department’s insolvency fund
At least 600 former ATV staff have received the wages they were owed three months after the broadcaster stopped airing.
Among the 650 former employees who had been left out of pocket, 110 had received their outstanding salaries in full from the Labour Department’s Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund.
New station investor Star Platinum Enterprises had bought out the debts of 490 people owed money by ATV, including unpaid wages and severance payments.
The process of debt purchasing for the remaining 50 people had not yet been completed as they were either out of touch or were disputing the amount of compensation.
The latest moves by mainland investor Si Rongbin, owner of Star Platinum Enterprises, comes as the High Court will on Monday hear a winding up petition on the broadcaster by former boss Wong Ching, who is trying to recoup his losses after a share deal with Si collapsed.
As of Sunday, the department’s fund had approved applications from 358 former ATV staff, and the amount of ex gratia payments issued so far totalled HK$18.48 million.
Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Tang Ka-piu, who has been assisting the employees in pursuit of their money, said the total involved in the wages saga was about HK$93 million.
ATV went off air on April 1 after 59 years of broadcasting when its licence expired. The company’s satellite broadcasting licence expired the following month but it is not yet officially bankrupt.
The reputation of the station was badly damaged in 2011 when it falsely reported that former Chinese president Jiang Zemin had died.