- Simon KiraguKenyans.co.ke
Journalists in Kenya are bracing for a court battle with their employers after three leading media houses announced plans to effect wage cuts in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Standard Group, Royal Media Services (RMS) and Radio Africa Group are among the media houses planning to slash staff members' earnings by 20 to 30%.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke on Thursday, April 16, Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) Secretary-General Eric Oduor confirmed that the union had already filed a case at the Employment and Labor Relations Court, with journalists concerned by the lack of consultations before the wage cuts were effected.The Standard Media Group Mombasa Road Offices . Thursday, October 14, 2019Simon KiraguKenyans.co.ke
"Yes, we filed the case. We are supposed to be at the Milimani Law Courts tomorrow morning (Friday, April 17) at the Employment and Labor Relations Court.
"It's the three media houses who started all this. We'll be able to give concrete information tomorrow because at the moment we still don't know what the courts will say, he stated.
The media houses had cited shrinking revenues as they announced the plans, with advertising departments particularly taking a hit during the Covid-19 period.
Notably, local dailies have reduced the number of newspaper pages due to the lower number of advertisements being published.
They maintained that wage cuts were part of a raft of cost-cutting measures being implemented to ensure the organizations stay afloat.
The plans were announced within a month of the first case of Covid-19 being confirmed in Kenya, with the current number of confirmed cases standing at 225.
Although journalists were classified by the government as essential service providers during the crisis, the impact of the pandemic on their work and the operations of media houses have been far-reaching.
In a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, many journalists have been working entirely from home. This translates to a need to ensure quality internet connection and power supply to their homes at their own cost.
Newsrooms have also been deserted with some media houses implementing new shift systems to have as few people as possible in their studios and offices.
Their work bringing Kenyans crucial information and raising awareness on Covid-19 has, however, been widely appreciated by regular citizens and government officials.File image of Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) Secretary-General Eric Oduor
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