Thursday, August 17, 2017
Pay-TV operator StarTimes Nigeria hit by racism allegations amidst exodus of staff; warnings of 'impending implosion' after 'mastermind of terror' Justin Zhang takes over as CEO.
Reports are surfacing of the Chinese pay-TV operator StarTimes in Nigeria that is accused of alleged systemic corporate racism and anti-labour law practices that has led to an exodus of Nigerian staff who don't want to work there anymore and warn of an "impending implosion" if nothing is done.
Nigeria's Nigeria Communications Week has a must read in-depth report out detailing allegations of systemic StarTimes Nigeria racism and anti-labour practices, as well as an exodus of several senior and junior Nigerian StarTimes managers over the alleged way the top Chinese management is treating staff and flouting regulations.
StarTimes Nigeria is also known as the NTA-Star TV Network Limited, a joint venture between NTA and the Star Group of China.
Henry Eyo, StarTimes Nigeria human resources director, called the allegations "very untrue and quite unfortunate".
"There is no multinational in the world where cultures haven't clashed or individuals from different nationalities have not had misunderstandings, either as a result of communication challenges of lack of it; but we constantly ensure such issues are addressed promptly and none of such have been as a result of racism," he told Nigeria Communications Week.
The publication spoke to multiple current and former StarTimes Nigeria staffers who all spoke and made various allegations against the Chinese pay-TV operator with a shocking story - and pattern - that emerges.
Five StarTimes Nigeria managers have recently left StarTimes Nigeria, with John Esoimeme, the former StarTimes national sales director the latest in July 2017. Dare Kafar, former StarTimes Nigeria national sales director quit in March 2017.
Also gone from StarTimes Nigeria are marketing manager Habeeb Somoye and content marketing manager, Ayokunle Idowu - most over alleged "face-offs" with senior StarTimes Nigeria Chinese managers.
According to staffers quoted by Nigeria Communications Week, Justin Zhang, formerly StarTimes president for marketing and general manager for StarTimes Lagos and now promoted to StarTimes Nigeria CEO since the former CEO Jack Lui was allegedly"too soft", is described as someone who "typifies raw racism and Chinese mafia at StarTimes".
Justin Zhang is also called a "mastermind of the reign of terror in the Chinese company".
Staffers go even further and describe Justin Zhang in the article as "a die-hard sadist and racist".
StarTimes Nigeria sources told the publication that there are allegedly sharp differences in salaries, working conditions, and benefits such as insurance policy and promotion between Nigerian and Chinese staffers, wit sources saying "the Chinese are like mafias here".
There's allegedly also arbitrary demotion of Nigerians as a common practice, with little corporate governance at the Nigerian pay-TV operator.
"StarTimes like many other Chinese businesses in Nigeria is full of fraud and Nazi behaviours," an insider told Nigeria Communications Week, saying "it is just like a Nazi detention camp where Nigerians lament in silence".
"I have been here since they started. No promotion and no single increment for 5 years, yet different Chinese bosses come and rise so fast within months to become directors."
"For instance, to our greatest surprise many of the Chinese bosses are either fresh graduates or those with much lower experience compared to their Nigerian subordinates."
"The practice at StarTimes is that while Chinese staffers are treated like royalty most senior Nigerian staff are contract staff, even directors. The trick is to offer employment to Nigerians with a clause that the contract is renewable per annum. This makes it easy to ease out stubborn Nigerians. They simply refuse to renew your contract when you argue with any Chinese," said a source.
StarTimes Nigeria says "It is quite unfortunate that anyone will dub StarTimes or Justin Zhang as being racist".
"As a country, it is important for us to continually imbibe the culture of excellent performance to ensure we achieve major feats; and that is a culture we are not ashamed to promote in StarTimes Nigeria.