Broke Journalists Sleep In The Office After Pay Delays For 3 Months

Standard Group employees live in offices to hide from landlords and save on transport costs

The financial situation at Standard Group is getting dire by the week. While employees are getting used to salary delays, the reality is beginning to sink in: day by day they are struggling more and more.

Those with not-so-strong emergency funds and without other income sources are resorting to extra-ordinary ways of getting by to keep their jobs. It is understood that already an arrangement has been made to have a good number of sub-editors and editorial production editors to work from home to save them from daily grind of transport costs to the Standard Group Mombasa Road and city-centre based I&M offices.

BT is informed that the chief sub-editor was forced to intervene and “save the situation” after management went mute over payment by requesting those unable to come to the office due to financial issues to work from home.

The company has not paid salaries for the last three months, and with January as good as over, the arrears will grow to four months. Things got complicated when the management, which is led by CEO Orlando Lyomu, reneged on a promise to clear October 2022 salaries by 23rd January after a meeting with leaders of the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) which had threatened to call for a strike.

The company paid 80% of the October salary in two tranches of  40%, as it continues to feel the pinch of  a slowing economy and a media industry caving in to technological changes. The Standard Group, listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange and arguably Kenya’s second largest media house, is also paying the price of over-expansion with many projects introduced over the past five or so years (mostly radio and TV stations) yet to break even.

Read >> TV Stationed Owned By CRB Champion Gives Staff Rent Cover Letters

“Some of our colleagues are having it rough, especially the young journalists who do not have alternative means of survival,” said a senior editor who works for the Standard newspaper but asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the issue. “I have seen people stay at the offices overnight, not once not twice.”

Some of them are playing hide and seek with landlords who are on their necks for rent arrears, while others do not have enough money to commute daily. “We tried to meet management but it dodged and remains silent over the plight of journalists especially those who are non-KUJ members,” this editor said. “It is sad that a company working in communication sector is itself unable to communicate to its own staff.”

Those who have chosen to work from home are not only cutting on commuter expenses, but also saving a coin to buy food and finance other household needs, hoping that things will soon look up for them. Standard even introduced free lunch but employees have complained that it’s not really free lunch as it is eventually deducted from their pay.

It is not clear why Standard or how Standard has found itself in this kind of situation since its performance had started trending up in recent years, while other media houses like Nation Media Group and Royal Media Services have been bouncing back from the Corona-induced slowdown.

See Also >> Uhuru CS Appointed President Of London Tech Giant

Some point to Standard’s management, blaming the CEO, a former finance manager at the SG, for focusing more on cutting costs through layoffs instead of growing income streams and closing non-performing entities.

Lower incomes could also be caused by the rise of digital media which has eaten into mainstream revenues. While the company has a Standard Digital as its online arm, it is no match for the monsters like Google, Facebook, and Instagram backed by hundreds of websites that are also attracting ad revenues.

Meanwhile, the dark cloud at Standard has a silver lining to it for employees initially earmarked for retrenchment. It is understood the company shelved the retrenchment after realizing it did not have requisite finances to pay laid off staff,  giving them temporary relief.

Defaulting on payments

The company has already defaulted on sacco contributions and statutory payments such as NHIF and NSSF despite deducting the money from its employees. A number of staff, fed up with the uncertainty at the media house, have quit over the past few months.

The management is staring at a major crisis if it doesn’t secure emergency cash to sort out its salaries and other obligations. The company’s share price at the NSE, which is currently at Ksh10.15, is also likely to get hurt as investors shy away from the counter.

Next Read >>  Meet The Soft-Spoken Journalist Who Keeps Breaking The Glass Ceilings

Latest

Firms Announce Merger Deal to Expand Services

Dalberg Implement, a leader in on-the-ground program implementation with vast expertise in strategy execution, and Axum, an Afrocentric impact firm dedicated to fostering inclusive growth across the Global South, have announced a merger.

Odibets Launches Mega Water Project In Makueni

Odi Mtaani Foundation by online betting company Odibets, in...

Ivon Priscar Living Kenya’s e-Commerce Dream in Grocery Shopping

As Kenya's informal sector continues to thrive, companies like Kapu serve as catalysts for economic empowerment and resilience.

Rose Ntong’ondu: Popcorn Hawker Who Owns a Multi-Million Beauty Empire

Rose Ntong'ondu, founder of Makeup by Rose, is a Kenyan-based makeup artist, teacher, mentor, and beauty entrepreneur.

Follow Us

Newsletter

Don't miss

Throwing The Girls Into Deep End: Single Kiasi S3 First Look

Nairobi’s dating scene is about to get messy: Single Kiasi...

Win New Year Crossover Mugithi Tickets With Odibets

The event has attracted prominent Kikuyu musicians who will be headlining the event including Samidoh and Muigai wa Njoroge.

For Coloured Girls is Theatre Production of the Year

The play ‘For Coloured Girls (who have considered suicide/ when...

Tusker Oktobafest Rolls East African Cultures into One

From regional events across Kenya to inaugural gatherings in Uganda and Tanzania, and the Tusker Oktobafest grand finale in Nairobi, the festival harmonized traditions, celebrated diversity, and highlighted the rich cultural tapestry of the East African culture

Lupita’s Little Brother Junior Nyong’o Charting His Own Path in Acting

Junior Nyongó, who is also a musician and a DJ and now a graduate of UC San Diego with an MFA in Acting, is crafting his own solid path in the world of acting with roles in major theatre productions.

Safaricom To Power Tusker OktobaFest Beer Festival

Safaricom’s involvement in OktobaFest as a technology and payments partner will focus on fostering seamless in-festival connectivity, empowering the youth and Gen Z community through Safaricom Hook, and powering digital payments through M-PESA.

Music Producers Launch Organization To Streamline Recording Industry

Recording Industry of Kenya (RIKE) was launched on 9th October 2023. Registered in 2022 as a not-for-profit organization, RIKE aims to promote the collective interests of producers of sound recordings in the country.

Nairobi’s Hero Bar Listed Among World’s 50 Best Bars

World Best Bars: Hero Bar in Nairobi continues to climb the list, moving up six places to No.62 and Johannesburg’s Sin + Tax comes in at No.94. Dubai new entry Ergo is at No.69 and Melbourne’s Byrdi has re-entered the list at No.61.

Kenyan DJs Face Off In Smirnoff Battle Of The Beats Season 3

The Smirnoff Battle of the Beats Season 3, a DJ competition, is poised to unleash an unprecedented musical frenzy countrywide.

The Highs And Lows Of Betty Kyallo, Sisters Show As Season 2 Ends

Kyallo Kulture has always been, above all, about sisterhood, and in Season 2 we have witnessed the charm of it - the ups that gave us wholesome moments as the sisters led by Betty Kyallo spent time together.
BT Reporter
BT Reporterhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke

Firms Announce Merger Deal to Expand Services

Dalberg Implement, a leader in on-the-ground program implementation with vast expertise in strategy execution, and Axum, an Afrocentric impact firm dedicated to fostering inclusive growth across the Global South, have announced a merger.

Odibets Launches Mega Water Project In Makueni

Odi Mtaani Foundation by online betting company Odibets, in collaboration with the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), have launched a multi-million water project...

Ivon Priscar Living Kenya’s e-Commerce Dream in Grocery Shopping

As Kenya's informal sector continues to thrive, companies like Kapu serve as catalysts for economic empowerment and resilience.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here