Covid-19 fallout: Vision Group, Nation Media Group cut salaries

Vision Group, parent company of New Vision, Bukedde, a number of regional newspapers and several broadcast houses, has effected significant salary cuts due to major revenue losses triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

An internal memo from the Managing Director to staff on April 30, 2020, states that the company will implement salary cuts of up to 60%, starting in May.

“…the recent downturn requires even more stiff measures to keep the business valuable. This necessitates that for the first time in sixteen years management has to take drastic measures to reduce the wage bill,” the memo partly reads.

“60 per cent will be cut from those earning above Shs19 million. Those earning between Shs8m and Shs19m will take a 45 per cent cut. Those earning below Shs8m will take a 40% salary cut.”

According to the memo, the measure will remain until further notice.

Vision Group is just one of several media houses in East Africa taking drastic measures in response to the economic downturn.

In a Labour Day message to staff, Mr Tony Glencross, Managing Director of Nation Media Group Uganda, reassured employees of job security but hinted at possible cost cutting measures.

“We managed to pay March and April 2020 salaries on time but our business suffered a significant drop in advertising revenue from March, which will greatly impact our operations in the foreseeable future,” he said.

The conglomerate, which operates several outlets including NTV, Spark TV, Daily Monitor newspaper, Ddembe and KFM radios, recently suspended the publication of its Luganda sports newspaper, Ennyanda.

“Our priority at this stage is to keep the company afloat and saving every job that we can. For NMG Uganda, this means that each one of us, including myself and the management team, have to act in solidarity, for as long as is economically viable, to ensure that none of us loses their job,” Glencross added.

Glencross added that staff will be informed of the new measures through the Human resource department and their respective heads of department.

In Kenya, Nation Media Group April 30, 2020- Nation Media Group, Kenya announced a temporary reduction of 5% to 35% on the gross pay for all staff earning a gross monthly pay of Kshs50,000 and over.

On the other hand, Next Media CEO Kin Kariisa says there will be no salary cuts and job losses. “To all of us as a whole, be at peace. Your jobs with us, as well as your salaries will remain as a greed in your respective contracts. This also applies to your benefits.”

In East Africa

  • March 27, 2020- Royal Media, Kenya issued a salary reduction of up to 30%
  • April 1, 2020- Standard Group, Kenya announced a 25% salary reduction for staff earning above Ksh100,000 and a 20% reduction for those earning below Kshs100,000
  • April 23, 2020 – A Kenyan court issues an injuction against the implementation of salary cuts for staff of Mediamax Networks Limited

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