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Nation Media set to do massive layoffs

Tension is growing at Nation Media Group (NMG) as the clock ticks towards end of the year, when the company is expected to sack a number of employees to wrap up its two-year restructuring. The CEO, Mr Joe Muganda has intimated that it will be a “massive layoff” that will affect all departments across its subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

It is understood that its business in Kenya will be hardest hit, being the main operation with a stable of four three daily newspapers (Nation, Business Daily and Taifa Leo) and the weekly East African as well as NTV. At Nation Centre, the company expects to axe mainly journalists and a good number of staff from management and other support departments such as marketing and advertising.

A source at Nation says the editorial structure which the CEO describes as ‘funny’ will suffer deeper cuts with speculation that senior editors could be sent home. “Convergence of business, sports, and foreign has taken way many responsibilities from Managing Editors and that may lead to reduction of those senior posts,” according a senior HR manager at Nation.

Joe Muganda – NMG Group CEO

It’s second operation is in Uganda where it runs NTV and the Monitor newspaper where it is planning to trim the payroll as revenues continue to shrink across its operations in East Africa due to a fall in advertising and changes in media consumption trends. There has been a strong shift to digital media, which is taking huge advertising from traditional media.

The criterion of retrenchment has not been made public, but sources inside Nation centre say employees will be pushed out based on performance reviews, age and qualification. The company is avoiding voluntary early retirement as it fears losing young talent.

BusinessToday has learned also that NMG could push out some highly paid and permanent staff as its HR policy is shifting in favour of contractual employees, which comes with less financial obligations on the part of the company. The Kenya Union of Journalists says the company has not written to it officially about the planned layoff. But it says its keenly watching the process with a viewing to moving to court to block it, says KUJ Secretary General Eric Oduor.

The NMG management says this final phase of the strategy will involve the reorganization of all its operations across the group to prioritize our resources and investments in content development, monetization and innovation in line with the emerging media trends.

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