News portal staff launch ‘soft strike’ amid salary delay

IT goes without saying that taking a plunge into the media industry requires business owners to possess deep pockets, perhaps as deep as setting aside funds which can outlast five or more years without any return on investment (ROI).

This stark reality comes about after staff from a news portal with deep links to the ruling government, including reporters, editors and photographers/cameramen, have been on a two-day soft strike from yesterday (Jan 8).

Sources within the news portal told FocusM that the staff’s salaries for December have yet to be paid till today.

It is reliably learnt that though salaries have been paid late for the past few months, this latest delay has hit many staff hard in view of the pinch from spiralling living cost coupled with the fact that many employees have seen their savings depleted to an unbearable level.

“Some of us cannot come to work for now, while some are working from home. We do not like to do this but are left with no choice as we are all ‘down and dry’,” said a staffer who declined to be named.

Main pic credit: The Edge

“We really hope we can get our salaries soon as we are mostly broke and have begun to borrow money to get by. We thought that after the new Government took over, the owner’s cash flow would improve but the reverse seems to have occurred,” said another staffer.

This is given that the portal is owned by a media group whose owner is said to be a close ally to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The staff also questioned the timing of the portal’s managing editor’s holiday to the US when majority of the staff could barely make ends meet owing to the delay in salary payment.

He added that this was the first time that the company had paid its staff salaries later than the 7th of the following month. Under Malaysian labour laws, salaries must be paid by the 7th of the following month.

He also disclosed that some staff did not receive their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions on time.

“Morale is extremely low in the newsroom. One can easily feel the bad vibes all around us and it didn’t help that the managing editor or senior management staff did not provide clarifications or future directions,” he lamented.

“Worse still, rumours are circulating that the owner may pull the plug on the portal soon.” – Jan 9, 2023


Main pic credit: Bernama

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