Trouble is brewing at Kenya’s leading media house, Nation Media Group (NMG) even as mass layoffs beckon in the face of waning profitability at the Aga Khan’s key investment in the region.
Quite telling, the group CEO Joe Muganda, is leaving the firm tomorrow for Vivo Energy Kenya at a time the NMG is undergoing one of its’ worst time in its long history.
NMG is battling court cases of top editors dropped for not toeing the editorial director Tom Mshindi’s line, who is evidently split between NMG and personal interests through a public relations firm known as “360 Degrees”.
Over 140 staff, largely correspondents, reporters and senior editors some who have served the company as long as 26 years, are being shown the door tomorrow.
Multiple interviews with those affected say confirm that the layoffs were sanctioned by the NMG board but communicated verbally, and almost casually, to those found surplus to NMG’s requirements.
Majority senior staff have rejected the ‘golden handshake’ which has no uniformity in its computation and application. They argue that some staff are paid for all years worked while others are offered a figure deemed fit by the Human Resources Director Mr Kiambi.
Those rejecting the arbitrary offers are threatened that they could stay on and be sacked altogether and or forced to resign - eventually going home with nothing. Others are being induced into consultancy contracts.
According to sources who spoke to Cofek on strict anonymity fearing jeopardizing their interests, labour laws are flouted with untold abandon at the media house.
Senior staff who have rejected the lumpsum offer, from the editorial, procurement and marketing departments, have been asked to go on leave for one month as they await further decision. They have been accused of exerting ‘negative energy’ if they continued being within the premises.
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