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Kenya Union of Journalists warn Mediamax over pay delays

The Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) has asked a leading media house to address grievances raised by its correspondents within 24 hours.

In a statement on March 11, 2024, KUJ Secretary General Erick Oduor warned that failure by MediaMax Limited to heed his call will prompt the Union to escalate the matter and call its members to protest.
Oduor explained that the correspondents had not received their salaries for a year.

“We stand in solidarity with correspondents of The People Daily, a respected daily newspaper, who have withdrawn their labour over non-payment of their dues for over 12 months,” Oduor’s warning letter reads in part.

Oduor further accused the employer of “blatant disregard for the correspondents” adding the actions will not be tolerated as the correspondents, whom he described as the unsung heroes that toil tirelessly each day to deliver stories for publication, find themselves victims of inhuman treatment, stripped of their dignity due to financial strife.

“This level of impunity being exhibited by the management of Mediamax Ltd is unacceptable and must be stopped by all means. The correspondents have been subjected to inhuman treatment and have lost their dignity due to inability to meet their financial obligations, yet they sweat every day to deliver stories to the newspaper for publication,” he said.

“As the unpaid bills pile up, some correspondents face eviction from their homes, cast out by unforgiving landlords seeking rent arrears. Forced to spend nights in the office premises or on the unforgiving streets, they and their loved ones have nowhere to call home. This crisis not only robs them of shelter but also erodes the pillars of media freedom in Kenya.

“We are aware that some correspondents have been kicked out by their landlords over accumulated rent arrears, forcing them and their loved ones to spend nights either in office premises or on the streets as they have nowhere to call home.”

The move comes six months after KUJ raised concerns over another media house’s delays in paying salaries.

Oduor accused the Standard Groups of failing to pay their employees for six months.

On their part, media owners have blamed the hostile business environment, which has resulted in the government withdrawing businesses and delaying paying for work done, for their woes.

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