The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) has condemned the unfair dismissal of Mediamax employee contracts terming it a contravention of section 40 of the Employment Act.
“The process requires consultation and engagement with the affected employees before such a decision Is made. Indeed, Mr. Ngaruya has made history In labor relations as the first CEO to implement Section 40 of Employment Act and Article 41 of the Constitution through an SMS. What a shame! The illegal exercise disguised as redundancy negates the existence of the company which was incorporated as a news production and dissemination entity because it appears the so-called restructuring has disbanded newsroom,” said KUJ secretary-general Erick Oduor in a statement.
Oduor demands that the Company puts on hold the directive and allow for consultations that comply with the law
According to KUJ, Mediamax has taken advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to subject employees to unfair labour practice which includes unilateral introduction of pay cuts, withholding salaries, and now unfair termination of contracts disguised us redundancy.
“While we condemn this illegal and unfair labour practice, which Constitution of Kenya outlawed In 2010, we demand that the company puts this exercise on hold to pave the way for consultations to comply with the law,” he added.
“Failure to adhere to this, the company should prepare for the mother of all legal battles as Human Resource Director and Mr Ngaruya will be held personally responsible for violation of a court order and subjecting employees to slavery,” added Oduor.
It is with deep regret that we learnt of the unfair dismissal of Mediamax employee contracts. This is a clear contravention of section 40 of the Employment Act. We demand that the Company puts on hold the directive and allow for consultations that comply with the law…. pic.twitter.com/DaC33GOgxE
— KUJ Kenya (@KUJ_Kenya) June 22, 2020
According to Business Today, journalists who got termination SMS in K24 include: Kiswahili news anchor Nancy Onyancha (she broke the news on her Instagram), Job Mwaura assignments/Swahili Editor, Ken Wariahe (Swahili Anchor and Editor), Isabella Kituri (Anchor/Swahili Editor), Caroline Wambui (acting Managing Editor), Shukri Wachu (Education/Crime Reporter), Apollo Kamau (Political Reporter), Mercy Milanoi (Business Reporter), Joy Kiruki ( Features Editor), Gloria Milimu (Health Reporter) and Kimani Githuku (reporter). Others are Features Reporter Dennis Matara, Sports anchor Tony Kwalanda as well as Fred Indimuli (9pm News Anchor/Editor).
Mediamax, the holding company for K24 and Kameme TV stations, People Daily, Milele FM and several vernacular radio stations.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, KUJ Kenya successfully took two media companies to court to force them to treat the cuts in salaries they wanted to impose as debts which the companies should pay back once normality return.
The union has also successfully negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding an with the employers’ federation to avoid compulsory redundancies and instead negotiate a procedure to agree on other cost-cutting measures.
— KUJ Kenya (@KUJ_Kenya) April 17, 2020