COVID-19 HITS INDIAN MEDIA
Indian media suffered an extreme setback on Monday as communities shut down divisions and extended leave without pay and even cut salaries of employees.
Among these organizations, one is NewsNation which laid off a total of 15 members of its English Digital Team, who COVID-19 weren’t even notified about the termination or allowed to serve their notice period as reported by Newslaundry. As for severance, employees only got a month’s basic salary.
Bennett Coleman’s The Times of India has been found to lay off all members of its Sunday magazine team which included six employees of Times Life, nine employees from the Times of India, and three COVID-19 from the Speaking Tree.
Digital media The Quint shut down its auto and technology section and sent its 45 employees including a bureau chief, production staff, and reporters on leave without pay from April 15th. Quint’s email said “We’ve never seen a world where consumer spending is down by over 50%, where wealth COVID-19 and asset values built over the years, have been ravaged in a matter of days. We simply have no idea where this could end”.
After many complaints and grievances filed by the employees, the Quint issued another email saying that the staff earning below Rs. 65,000, who was put on leave without pay will receive their salaries till April 30th. If there’s an urgent requirement, the employees can request one month’s payment in advance. Their insurances are still valid and they can withdraw money from their employee COVID-19 provident fund accounts.
BloombergQuint also notified its employees that steep pay cuts can be executed in April, and it would soon be normalized in the month of May.
Other companies to cut salaries are Business Standard and Indian Express, though IE stated that it was temporary. Business Standard will cut salaries of those earning above Rs 10 lakhs from May onwards. Outlook magazine also cut its print edition production temporarily to minimize cost measures.
IE’s authorities took a 100% pay cut, those earning below Rs 5 lakh would not see any change, between Rs 5 and Rs 7.5 lakh would see a 10% cut, between Rs 7.5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh would see a 15% pay cut, Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh would COVID-19 see 20% cut, Rs 20 lakh to Rs 35 lakh would see a 25% pay cut, and those earning above would see a 30% pay cut.
CEO George Varghese said in an email, “Nothing will make me happier than to propose to you to withdraw this salary cut, the moment we turn the corner but what worries me is that if the situation continues this proposed reduction in salary will also not be enough for us to see through this crisis.”