Media / Watchdog
Thursday, 09 Feb 2017 08:32 EATpwanjiru@kenyafreepress.com
Retrenched workers at the Radio Africa Group have been offered benefits the management hopes will make their lives more bearable as they look for new employment opportunities. As the firm implements a painful restructuring programme that will see nearly fifty journalists lose their jobs, it has decided to implement a rare policy to soothe the pain of workers being axed, according to sources familiar with the deals.
Instead of asking workers to leave the company's premises the moment their employment was terminated as some firms, including commercial banks and telecoms companies, have done, the Radio Africa Group has given its outgoing employees a one-month notice within which they may go to office normally and work on planning their exit.
The send-off package itself has been described by the firm as generous, comprising the notice provided in the employees' contracts (one month in most cases), severance pay, gratuity and paid vacation. The company has also hired two counsellors who will advise the employees on their transition from employment, providing them emotional comfort and educating them on how to invest the money they will be paid in starting businesses or investing in life-changing projects.
In a symbolic gesture to the employees to assure them that the decision to cut their jobs was not on their poor performance but the company's financial constraints, Radio Africa is giving the axed workers the option of proposing another job for themselves within the company (presumably in a different department) if they have another needed skill set to fit the job. Some retrenched staff also have the option of taking a pay cut and remaining in the company.
As retrenchment becomes the norm in Kenya during this prolonged economic downturn, many workers have resented companies they worked for for years, in some cases decades, only for them to be offloaded without any care as to their immediate future. For journalists, whose industry is undergoing rapid technological changes necessitating job cuts the world over, losing a well-paying job can be seen as punishing.