The Employment and Labour Relations Court has barred Standard Media Group from slashing employees’ salaries.
This was following a petition that was filed at the Milimani Law Courts by the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ), where they sought to stop the directive that was documented on April 7, 2020.
The union cited that they were not consulted by the media house hence terming the move unfair and a violation of the journalists’ rights.
The Secretary-General for KUJ, Eric Oduor has indicated that the court has run an injunction until the matter is determined.
“The court has run an injunction, pending the determination of the matter,” he is quoted.
On April 7, 2020, the Media house which owns KTN, The Standard Newspaper, and several radio stations announced pay cuts citing tough economic times as a result of COVID-19 menace in the country.
In a memo that was signed by the group CEO Orlando Lyomu, the pay cuts were to be dependent on the employee’s job group.
For instance, those earning more than Sh100,000 per month will have their salaries slashed by 25% while those making less than the Sh100,000 will suffer a 20% pay cut that was effective April 1, 2020.
“As a result of the disruption caused so far, we have had many of our customers cutting back on their advertising budgets and in some instances, withdrawing advertising completely,” he said.
Further, the memo indicated, “This is the mainstay of our business and so it goes without saying that we are already being impacted heavily. Our priority, therefore, shifts to ensuring the survival of our team and the organization.”
Non-essential employees were also asked to proceed on leave until a time when they will be recalled.
“Due to the 7 PM – 5 AM curfew and additional restrictions on movements outside Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale, and in view of the reduced level of operations due to the COVID-19 crisis, it has become necessary to request staff to proceed on leave, other than for those who will be actively engaged,” the CEO said.
According to the management, the move was said to help foster “efforts of management to cut on costs and preserve cash” with the main aim being its employees’ safety and the long-term stability of the company.
The media house became the fourth to slash its employee salaries. Royal Media Services and Radio Africa announced 20 to 30 percent pay cuts while Nation Media Group sent the majority of its staff on leave.
A number of companies have scaled-down operations in the wake of COVID-19, with experts warning that the situation could take up to six months for the economy to stabilize.