- The Kenya Union of Journalists has issued a statement calling the Standard Group Limited staff to down their tools from January 6, 2023.
- The union further cautioned the Standard Group PLC against using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse for what it termed as dubious means to eject its workers from the union.
- The union also accused the Standard Group of unilaterally deciding to reduce staff totally disregarding the Employment Act that protects salaries of staff from unlawful deductions.
The Kenya Union of Journalists has issued a statement calling the Standard Group Limited staff to down their tools from January 6, 2023.
This follows the alleged non-payment of salaries remittance of Sacco savings and statutory deductions and exploitation of staff by Standard Group PLC.
The union issued the statement through its Secretary-General Erick Oduor on Friday, noting it has been a week since it issued a strike notice to the Standard Group over the matter.
In view of the above, KUJ issued a 14-day strike notice on December 23 and is calling on the staff to withdraw their labour from January 6 in the event their demands in the strike notice are not met.
KUJ said the matter violates the labour laws as well as the constitution and has put the staff on a slippery path.
“Today marks the seventh day after Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) issued a strike notice to Standard Group Limited over among others, non-payment of salaries, remittance of Sacco savings and statutory deductions. This is violation of labour laws and the Constitution,” Oduor said in the statement.
He went on, “All the above have serious implications on staff who are on the verge of losing their savings in the Sacco and are likely to face difficulties in the future when applying for some vital documents.”
The union further cautioned the Standard Group against using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse for what it termed as dubious means to eject its workers from the union.
KUJ also accused the Standard Group of declining to implement some pertinent clauses that affect the payment of leave allowances.
“The company cannot hide behind the post-Covid-19 effects, since the violation of workers’ rights started before the pandemic. The company used dubious means to remove staff from the union in order to expose them for exploitation. In addition, the company declined to implement some clauses of CBA, particularly payment of Leave Allowance,” the statement read.
It read on, “These paved the way for violation of workers’ rights and now non-payment of salaries that has seen staff owed three-months’ salary arrears, something that the management has refused to address or communicate to the staff.”
KUJ decried the situation, terming it as inhuman and demonstrating impunity as staff have for the past three months struggled to meet their financial obligations in the wake of the soaring cost of living presently being experienced in Kenya.
“The staff have been deprived dignity, especially during this festive season where families enjoy the fruit of their hard labour,” the statement read.
The union further accused the media house of unilaterally deciding to reduce staff totally disregarding the Employment Act that protects salaries of staff from unlawful deductions.
The company allegedly remitted only 80 per cent of staff salaries for the month of October, and kept quiet about the remaining 20 per cent.
“Under Article 41 of the Constitution, all employees are entitled to fair labour practice but SGL has over the past few years demonstrated that the rights of employees do not matter. It is in the public knowledge that SGL arbitrary enforced pay cut at the height of Covid-19 while other companies followed the due process.
“This was overturned by the court and SGL was told the deducted money will be treated as a debt, pending the determination of the matter."
According to KUJ, the media house has also interfered with the staff pension, which it says violated the law
"As if this was not enough, the company went ahead to suspend pension to punish staff further, and when it was reinstated, the company altered the scheme to the disadvantage of the staff."
Employees at Standard Group Limited are reported to have gone for months without pay with some forced to work from home as the media house blamed its financial woes on the pandemic and the current tough economic times.