Nation Media Group, the listed regional media company, is set to fire 600 employees, including journalists, at the end of April 2024. The company, in an internal memo dated 5th February 2024, issued its staff with a one-month notice of its intention to declare the 600 employees redundant in the wake of reduced revenues.
“I wish to notify all members of staff of the Company’s intention to declare redundancy of 600 employees across various departments at the end of Q1 (April 2024),” says the Memo sent out by NMG group CEO Stephen Gitagama.
Mr Gitagama said the move has been necessitated by a drastic drop in revenues in the past few years caused by a disruption of its advertising in 2023 and 2024 following 20 months of unpaid advertising revenue from the Government Advertising Agency (GAA).
NMG says it has also restructured its business to adopt a leaner, more efficient structure with a reduction in physical print, meaning it requires less people to do the same job. Some of the measures have included the adoption of a converged newsroom where journalists are required to have multimedia skills – they can report for radio, TV, digital and the newspaper.
Also, the CEO said shifting trends in media consumption occasioned by technological changes in the digital environment continues to negatively impact the group’s revenues. In October last year, the Nation Media Group (NMG), Kenya’s largest media house, issued a profit warning for the year ended 31st December 2023. Issuing the cautionary statement on 26th October 2023, the media house listed a number of reasons for the expected drop in earnings by at least 25%, including higher taxes and the free fall in the value of the Kenya shilling.
Mr Gitagama said Nation Media Group will ensure “the process and the selection criteria is fair and in compliance with the provisions of the Employment Act, 2007 and the Collective Bargain Agreement (“CBA”) for union employees.
All employees who will be declared redundant will be paid for days worked until the date of exit and a severance pay of 15 days (or as indicated in the CBA for employees who are members of a union) for every complete year of service. Besides, they will also receive notice of pay as per their contract of employment, payment of leave days accrued and not taken at the time of exit, as well as pension dues or gratuity in accordance with the Scheme Rules or Contract of Employment.
“The layoff is expected to affect employees across various departments and will be undertaken in phases. The affected employees will be duly informed in writing,” the Memo says. The company has organized private counselling for those who will be laid off in addition to free financial management training.