Colleagues, It is a sad day as we gather here to condemn impunity and injustice being perpetuated by Standard Group PLC, the company that owns Standard Newspaper, KTN, KTN News, Radio Maisha, Spice FM, Vybz FM, and other media products.
We have decided to call this press conference because we have tried other means, mainly negotiations with management to find solutions to the non-payment of salaries to staff, but regrettably, only unfulfilled promises were made. We are saying Enough is Enough!
We have received distress calls from frustrated colleagues, and the company must be ready to take responsibility for mental torture that could lead some employees to make unfortunate decisions.
Standard Group PLC plays in the media space, where bad management practices, injustices, and violations of human rights are called out.
However, the company has lost its moral compass and, therefore, can no longer purport to question injustices and bad governance. It must now remove the log from its eyes first.
We express our solidarity as the media industry with our colleagues whose rights are being violated by the employer, yet wages and salaries are protected by the Employment Act. In addition, Article 41 of the Constitution guarantees every worker a right to fair labour practices.
Poor terms of service and non-payment of salaries have grown into a monster, and now they are new threats to press freedom in Kenya, which, if not stopped, will cause the media industry to lose credibility in the eyes of the society that we serve.
Standard Group PLC, the oldest media house in this region, has not paid its staff for six months, with photographers and correspondents going for 10 months without getting compensation for their daily toil.
This is not only illegal but immoral and a gross violation of human rights, and therefore, the company must be held to account, especially by its stakeholders and business partners.
We call upon the board of Standard PLC to respect the rights of these workers and meet their end of the bargain so that their staff can live in dignity and meet their financial obligations.
We also call for investigations into the company’s financial transactions to explain to the public what went wrong.
Last but not least, workers have lost their savings with Standard Sacco as a result of non-remittances from the company, and we call upon the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority to help members recover their money.
Lastly, we are giving the company 14 days to come up with a payment plan with a view to settling arrears, or else we will mobilize media workers in a solidarity strike to picket at the company’s offices countrywide.
Erick Oduor, Secretary-General, Press statement by the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) on non-payment of salaries by Standard Group PLC on November 9, 2023, in Nairobi