Two months after Independent Media employees were slapped with salary cuts, as well as the recent closure of the Pretoria News, the embattled media company has announced voluntary severance packages “to mitigate future job losses”.
This was communicated to staff via email from company CEO Takudzwa Hove on Tuesday.
“As a result of the business finding itself in a difficult position due to a number of factors that have affected the print and media industry, all of which have been communicated to you over the past few months, the company wishes to inform staff that we will be opening VSPs (voluntary severance packages),” Hove said.
“The following criteria will be taken into consideration for all VSP applications: whether the business can function optimally without the position of the applicant; whether the position is a critical or core part of the business structure; whether the loss of the applicant will negatively impact the business; and the experience and skills of the applicant.”
The company gave staff who are interested in applying for the first phase until June 23 to submit their applications and said this round would last until July 7.
“Should the business for any reason not make this deadline, we will endeavour to communicate with all applicants directly,” he said.
Two employees confirmed the authenticity of the letter, saying it was sent to all staff members. One employee said the letter took staff by surprise despite the turmoil at the company. The other said the announcement did not affect the company’s digital division IOL News.
In April, the company announced the closure of several flagship newspapers, including the Pretoria News, after the merger of these papers with other titles. The Pretoria News merged with The Star, while the weekend editions of the Argus merged, as did the Saturday and Sunday editions of Isolezwe.
Just a month earlier, staff were told they would be paid only 75% of their salaries, with “the balance of 25%” set to be paid later in the month.
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