Uladzimir Zholudz, a sound engineer at the Belarusian State TV and Radio Company (BT), has been on a hunger strike for three days.
“I promise not to eat anything, and only to drink water. I continue to work according to a current schedule. Thank you for your attention,” he said in s video message.
The reason for the hunger strike lies in his work during the latest broadcast of the national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, Zholudz says. The BT soundman states that the company’s remuneration system is organized in such a way that the employees have low salaries. Working part-time, Uladzimir gets Br 600,000 ($27) per month, and the rest of his earnings is fees for TV programs that have been aired.
Uladzimir Zholudz stresses that such situation repeats itself from year to year. First the employer promised to meet his requirements and give him a raise, but nothing has changed: according to senior managers, as the company is state-owned, it does not have money.
After Zholudz raised the issue once again, three options were offered to him: to hand in a notice, to make an appointment with the deputy chairman or with the chief financial officer.
“When they found out I made an appointment with the deputy chief, I was recommended to withdraw my resignation notice. However, I am full of determination, and starting today, February 15, I am launching a hunger strike. This is not some kind of ultimatum, I just want to make the company’s managers pay attention to the existing problem,” he said.
According to Zholudz, he will make a decision to stop or continue hunger striking after the meeting with the deputy chief.
The Belarusian State TV and Radio Company is the largest state-owned media holding in Belarus. It includes 7 TV channels, 5 radio channels, 5 regional TV and radio companies.