EXCLUSIVE: K24 Journalists Fail to Show Up to Work in Protest

  • A file image of the K24 studios
    A file image of the K24 studios
  • On Friday, April 17, Mediamax Network Limited, which owns K24 TV announced a pay-cut of between 20% and 50 % of all its staff across its broadcasting, online and print divisions to cushion the company from the disruptive effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The media house announced that it had reached the decision after a meeting by the top leadership.

    On receiving formal letters on Tuesday, April 21, however, Mediamax employees went on a go-slow, lamenting that the letters did not document the period of time within which, they would get their salaries slashed.

    A section of an empty office at Mediamax on Tuesday, April 21.
    A section of an empty office at Mediamax on Tuesday, April 21.

    Go slow

    Several employees who spoke to Kenyans.co.ke stated that some of the employees did not report to work on Tuesday, April 21.

    "Everybody is condemning the letter and have, hence, gone on a go-slow because the letter does not substantiate after how long their salaries will be slashed. As of today, the employees have started receiving their letters," one source told our newsdesk.

    Kenyans.co.ke has established that journalists in the media house have already taken the matter to court and are awaiting a ruling.

    "Employees are looking forward to a court injunction at the moment. Until then, when they know the real fate, they will be on a go-slow," anotether source added.

    The management is set to have a meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 21, to come up with an amicable solution.

    Attempts by our newsdesk to get a response from Mediamax acting CEO Ken Ngaruiya did not bear any fruit.

    Mediamax Network acting Chief Executive Officer Ken Ngaruiya
    Mediamax Network acting Chief Executive Officer Ken Ngaruiya
    K24 Digital

    Dreaded Paycut 

    An excerpt from a letter received by one of the journalists in the media house seen by Kenyans.co.ke under the reference 'Formal request for your consent for a temporary reduction of your salary' reads as follows:

    "Reference is made to the CEO’s update on the effect of the crisis occasioned by the Covid-19 virus on our business. We take further reference from the said update and hereby confirm that the proposal to reduce monthly pay is applicable to you. 

    "Your current monthly pay before taxes and other deductions is KES ……. The proposal is to reduce it by 50% before tax and other deductions. Your new gross monthly pay will be KES …….. The proposal further is to effect these changes in your April, 2020 pay. Please be advised that we shall review the situation periodically based on revenue, cash flow and the state of the business going forward,"

    Delayed payments

    Other sources who spoke to our newsdesk disclosed that staff who work for Kameme FM, which is also owned by Mediamax, have not received their March salaries.

    Other media houses

    The incident came days after Standard Media Group was stopped by the Employment and Labor Relations Court at Milimani law courts from slashing their employees salaries.

    This is after the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ), which has a collective agreement with the media house, filed a case seeking to stop it from actualising the directive that had been documented on April 7, 2020.

    Royal Media Services and Radio Africa also instituted salary cuts for their employees.

    All media houses have cited shrinking revenues with advertising departments particularly taking a hit during the Covid-19 period.

    They all maintained that wage cuts were part of a raft of cost-cutting measures being implemented to ensure the organizations stay afloat.

    A section of an empty office at Mediamax on Tuesday, April 21.
    A section of an empty office at Mediamax on Tuesday, April 21.