The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) has sued the Nation Media Group and Standard Group for declining to give journalists a pay increase this year.
KUJ, which has now raised its demand to 50% pay increase for unionisable journalists, has hired lawyer Ogeto Ongori to represent the union. Mr Ongori has a successful track record litigating against media houses. In 2011 he won a similar case against the two leading media houses.
Mr Ongori is pushing the court to register other clauses that the parties had agreed on earlier but which the media houses later reneged. This means unionisable journalists working for those media houses will have to wait longer for a pay increase – at least until the determination of the case.
According a brief of the case seen by BusinessToday, KUJ is seeking the court to award journalists 25 per cent salary increment each year for two years, backdated to April this year when the pay increase was supporsed to be implemented. The lawyer also wants SGL to be punished for disobeying a court ruling in 2011.
KUJ moved to court after talks between it and representatives from the media houses mediated by the Ministry of Labour ended in a stalemate after two sides maintained their hardline stance. KUJ was seeking a 10 percent pay increase for its members under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) while the media houses are offering only 6 percent.
KUJ had in August written to the Ministry of Labour after the media houses became uncooperative in the negotiations. Labour Cabinet Secretary Ms Phillis Kandie then declared a dispute between KUJ and Nation Media Group and Standard Group Limited.