The Standard Media Group is now using new tactics aimed at going against the court order barring the company from slashing employee salaries amid COVID-19 menace in the country.
On April 17, 2020, the Employment and Labour Relations Court barred the Media Group from slashing employees’ salaries following a petition that was filed at the Milimani Law Courts by the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ).
In the petition, the union cited that it was not consulted by the media house hence terming the move unfair and a violation of the journalists’ rights.
Reports reaching Kahawa Tungu indicate that the media house has decided to play smart and is using dubious means to go against the court order.
Apparently, the company has been sending its employees emails at night requesting them to physically pick their paycheques from their Headquarters in Mombasa Road where they are forced to sign letters indicating that the deduction was voluntary.
Further, our sources have revealed that the company is now issuing the paycheques from its Finance office as opposed to previously where the salaries were sent to the bank accounts.
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 would have their salaries slashed by 25 percent while those making less than the Sh100,000 would suffer a 20 percent pay cut 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,” read the memo in part.
This move was opposed by the KUJ, with the union’s Secretary-General Eric Oduor stating that the court had run an injunction until the matter is determined.
This means that the media house was stopped from effecting the deductions until the court ruled otherwise.
“The court has run an injunction, pending the determination of the matter,” said Oduor.
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.
Consequently, in the wake of COVID-19 menace in the country that has 303 confirmed positive cases and 14 fatalities, Standard Media Group 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.
Also, a good number of companies have scaled-down operations with experts warning that the situation could take up to six months for the economy to stabilise.