KAMPALA – Media giants Vision Group Uganda and Nation Media Group (NMG) Kenya have announced massive salary cuts as a result of registering low business due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Vision Group owns New Vision, Bukedde TV, Bukedde radio and Bukedde newspaper, Urban TV and a series of upcountry TV, newspapers and radio stations such as Orumuri, TV West, Radio West, Rupiny and Etop.
NMG Kenya on the other hand owns Daily Nation and NTV Kenya, among other Swahili publications and radio stations. It’s sister company is NMG Uganda under which Daily Monitor, NTV Uganda, Enyanda, KFM, Dembe FM, and other companies fall.
But according to the companies, they have had to cut salaries to remain afloat having suffered massive sales and advertising losses in this period.
Vision Group Chief Executive Officer Robert Kabushenga, in a letter dated April 30, informs all staff that the business has been negatively impacted by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in a more severe manner than could have been foreseen.
“…the recent downturn requires even more stiff measures to keep the business viable,” Kabushenga writes, adding: “This necessitates that for the first time in sixteen years management has to take drastic measures to reduce the wage bill.”
The Vision boss adds that employees will receive full pay for the month of April 2020 but will effect gross salary reduction effective May 2020 of 60% for employees “who earn above Shs19m, 45% for those between Shs8m-9m and 40% for those who earn below Shs8m.”
“This position will remain in place until further notice. Full details will be communicated in a personal letter to each staff member,” Kabushenga said, adding that further measures are still being discussed and staff will be notified accordingly.
“It is necessary for these measures to be undertaken to enable the company navigate the difficult market,” he concludes.
For NMG Kenya, the CEO, Steven Gitagama said all staff earning above Kshs50,000 (about UGX1.7m) will suffer a cut, which will be determined by the company.
The pay cut ranges from 5% for the lower end of the target group and 35% for the high-end, including the CEO, Mr Stephen Gitagama. Even directors have taken a pay cut on their earnings.
The pay reduction takes effect from 1 May 2020. The staggered pay cut is intended to cushion those who earn less from deep financial pain.
“Management has so far undertaken several cost-saving interventions to keep the business running and continue to deliver services to our customers. As part of these measures, the Board of Directors have taken a reduction on their directors’ fees,” reads a statement by NMG CEO Stephen Gitagama.
“This is an extremely tough decision, and we understand the impact this will have on you and your family. However, please be assured that we have considered several other alternatives, and the decision taken is the most sustainable option in the current circumstances. This unavoidable action is temporary and will be reviewed every three months depending on the company’s performance and as the COVID-19 situation evolves.”
However, NMG Uganda is yet to announce the salary cuts.