Lebanese TV production firm to lay off 397 staff

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 15-04-2012

Almost 400 staff are facing redundancy from Lebanese studio PAC, which produces TV shows for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI), among other clients.
The company's employees, who have not been paid now for two months, have hired legal representation over the proposals, which PAC is now in consultation with the Labour Ministry over, according to the Lebanese Daily Star.
The production house has blamed "economic reasons" for the decision to lay off staff, which under Lebanese law could allow the company to withhold compensation from the employees.
Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai has now told employees he will fight to safeguard their rights, and ensure they receive compensation and their outstanding salaries.
A statement from Lebanese Media Holding, which runs PAC, said: "The failure of LBCI to pay for programing produced by PAC and the ensuing disputes with the head of LBCI and former-head of PAC and Rotana TV, Mr Pierre Daher, have resulted in the inability of PAC to pay the salaries of its employees and continue to sustain the ongoing costs of production and operations," said the statement.
"Despite its prime location, diversified production facilities, multiple studios and talented production staff, the PAC production facility has sustained significant losses for some time, many of which stem from actions and decisions taken by the previous management team," it added.
Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whose media assets include Rotana and a 7% stake in Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation through his Kingdom Holding company, has been the majority shareholder of PAC since late 2008.