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Standard Group faces KUJ's 14-day ultimatum as staff salaries delay for over 10 months

Kenya Union of Journalists issues 14-day ultimatum to Standard Group over unpaid staff salaries

Standard-Media-Group Mombasa Road offices

In the wake of growing financial difficulties, the Standard Group, a prominent media house in Kenya, is facing mounting concerns over delayed salary payments to its staff.

The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) raised the red flag, leading to a 14-day ultimatum for the company to settle arrears and find a resolution.

On November 9, KUJ Secretary-General Erick Oduor expressed deep concern over the Standard Group's failure to disburse salaries as scheduled.

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Attempts to engage the management in productive negotiations had proved futile, pushing the union to take a decisive stance.

In a statement, the union called upon the Standard Group's board to honor its commitment to its workforce by ensuring prompt payment of salaries. The KUJ demanded transparency and scrutiny into the company's financial transactions to provide clarity on the ongoing challenges.

The ultimatum issued by KUJ outlined a clear course of action. The Standard Group was given 14 days to devise a payment plan to clear salary arrears.

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Failure to meet this deadline could result in media workers mobilising for a solidarity strike, with pickets planned at the company's offices across the country.

In response to the escalating concerns voiced by staff and KUJ, the Standard Group has officially acknowledged its financial difficulties.

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The statement shed light on the harsh operating environment compounded by the country's ongoing economic crisis.

Despite these challenges, the Standard Group has remained committed to its product innovation and diversification agenda, focusing on revenue generation and business profitability.

A major hurdle for the business is the accumulation of significant outstanding debts that the company is owed. Unfortunately, this has adversely affected various operational aspects, including the timely disbursement of staff salaries.

"A key challenge for the business has been the significant outstanding debts (pending bills) owed to the company and this has, regrettably, affected some of our operational timelines, including timely payment of staff salaries," part of the statement reads.

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The organisation also emphasised that addressing the issue of delayed salaries is a top priority. In light of the financial constraints, the company is taking various initiatives to rectify the situation.

One of these initiatives is a comprehensive cost reduction and efficiency enhancement drive.

"This issue remains a top priority for the company and is being addressed accordingly. The company is undertaking various initiatives, including a major cost reduction and efficiency enhancement drive, as well as a restructuring of the business, to conform to current economic realities," the statement reads.

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The financial difficulties faced by the Standard Group are just a representation of the broader challenges confronting media organisations, not only in Kenya but worldwide.

The media landscape has been significantly altered by digital transformation, shifting consumer behaviors, and economic uncertainties.

Media companies are adapting to a new era where traditional revenue streams are being reshaped.

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