It’s harvest time for journalists after being awarded a hefty pay increase. The employment and labour relations court announced it had facilitated the deal between the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) and the two leading media houses to give journalists a 12% pay increase backdated two years.
This means journalists working for Nation Media Group and Standard Group who are members of KUJ will get the 12% increase – 6% each for 2016 and 2017 – from 1st April 2016. While it is markedly lower than the 50% KUJ had sought, it is a gain nonetheless in a media industry where revenues have been tightening and journalists are being fired in succession.
The three parties signed a consent prepared by the employment and labour relations court on 21st February this year committing themselves to the deal. “The suit between the claimant (KUJ) and the 2nd respondent (NMG) be and is here by marked as settled on the following terms: The revised salaries contained here in reflect an increase of 6% for the first year and 6% for the second year,” reads the consent.
KUJ was represented by Ogeto Ongori & Company Advocates, while Nation Media was represented by Iseme, Kamau and Maema Advocates.
Already journalists have started smiling all the way to the bank as Standard Group implemented the pay rise last week. The media house reportedly paid journalists the arrears, which sources say amounted to approximately Sh20 million.
The Nation Media Group is expected to pay this month as the agreement was reached after it had closed its payroll for February.
According to the collective bargaining agreement, was negotiated for the last two years, the journalists are also entitled to a leave allowance of Ksh12,000 for 2016 and Ksh14,000 for 2017.
This is a big win for KUJ and its members, who now will earn higher salaries as the union embarks on negotiating the next CBA for 2018-2020. Journalists salaries are expected to improve as some of the KUJ members are among the poorly paid lot in Kenyan newsrooms.
It has not been an easy battle to the 12% pay rise. The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) was forced to sue the Nation Media Group and Standard Group in December 2016 for declining to implement the pay increase for that year after mediation by the Ministry of Labour failed.
KUJ had wanted the court to award journalists 25% salary increment each year for two years, backdated to April 2016 when the pay increase was supposed to be implemented. Mr Ongori has had a successful track record litigating against media houses. In 2011 he won a similar case against the two leading media houses.