Uncertain future for Independent Media staff

SABC News writes that employees at the Independent Media Group in Durban say they have not been paid their full salaries since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. One employee says she only received 70 percent of her normal salary today. Employees say the media house has been experiencing financial trouble for the past three years. One employee – who wanted to remain anonymous – says the amounts they have been paid have been fluctuating since 2020. She added that the company cannot commit to when employees will get their full salaries.

According to the employee, editorial staff were served with Section 189 notices in May, while other staff members received letters last week. Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act is a notice by a company that it intends to restructure and results in layoffs. The employee says staff were told that the Section 189 process is aimed at reducing costs to enable the company to continue to operate. The company’s Group Executive for marketing and communications, Lutfia Vayej acknowledged that it is facing financial difficulties and has acknowledged that salary payments have been affected.

Vayej says Independent Media finds itself in a financially challenging situation, that has impacted the payment of salaries in July. She says this is due to the difficult business environment and the impact it has had on the media sector. She adds that an unexpected situation beyond their controls also arose, while not giving any further details. Vayej says the group’s financial challenges are not unfamiliar to staff, and that management has communicated with employees throughout.

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