New details emerging indicate escalated wrangles at Mediamax regarding the 50 percent pay cuts.
According to a local blog, Mediamax management has threatened to fire journalists who sued the media house over the slashing of their salaries on the basis that they were not consulted before the matter was taken to court.
“Irrespective of the court order, all the 200 people who went to court, you are enemies of the company. If you sign or you don’t sign the contract, washakumaki (they have already marked you),” reads a message quoted by the blog.
These allegations have been confirmed by the lawyer representing the journalists who went to court, David Ondieki who stated that he had filed for contempt of court following the threat by the company CEO.
“Some people uphold impunity, including the author of the message. We have a court order and we are supposed to argue our case on Thursday, May 7. The CEO has however gone ahead to issue threats to employees forcing them to sign the contract,” Ondieki is quoted.
Further, Ondieki asserts that the Mediamax CEO wrote to him in regard to the same stating that he would proceed with his directive despite the court order adding that he was within his rights.
At the beginning of the month, the media house announced plans to slash employee salaries by between 20-50 percent citing tough economic conditions leading to reduced profitability amid COVID-19 menace in the country.
“We have consulted extensively and held several meetings with the leadership team and the board of directors to find ways and methods to sustain and keep the Company afloat during this pandemic. We have come up with several measures to ensure that we try to sustain and ensure that the business at this stage survives and sustains itself. Amongst the proposed measures that will directly apply to employees will be a reduction of between 20% and 50% on Gross Monthly Pay based on job levels effective April 2020,” read the statement in part.
This move prompted journalists from the media house to seek the intervention of the courts after they received consent letters initiating the paycuts.
Justice Bryam Ongaya issued orders restricting the Media House from subjecting the employees to pay cuts unless the management proved they were unable to pay salaries. Further, the Court barred the management from terminating contracts of service of the employees.
According to the Ondieki, the lawyer representing the journalists, the matter is still in court thus the Media House management cannot proceed with their directive until the matter is determined and settled.
“Yes, the labor laws stipulate that, but remember if the matter is in court, then you cannot proceed with such until the case is settled. The court does not support harassment,” the attorney proclaimed.