Broadcaster Primedia will retrench an unspecified number of employees as it struggles to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, the challenging economic environment and rapid technological change.
The media group, which owns various advertising and media assets — including radio stations 702 and 947 — said in a statement on Thursday that it has notified employees of its intention to proceed with consultations under section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.
“This decision follows an extensive strategic review process which scrutinised every facet of the business,” it said.
Various factors, including “new entrants in the media sector”, have placed “significant pressure on media businesses to adapt and evolve, in order to stay relevant”.
“This has been further compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, and South Africa’s national lockdown, on our key clients and industries,” Primedia said.
“Important consideration has been applied to a number of initiatives to reduce the impact of job losses across the group. However, it has become abundantly clear that Primedia cannot successfully pursue the necessary strategic imperatives and ensure sustainability in the long term in its current modality.”
Interim CEO Phumzile Langeni described the decision to embark on a retrenchments programme as a “watershed moment” from Primedia. “This is a sustainability strategy we had hoped not to have to deploy.”
Primedia’s decision to retrench staff comes as businesses across the ICT and media sectors, from the SABC and Media24 to Cell C and Telkom, embark on similar processes to cope with the shrinking economy and other pressures on their businesses. — © 2020 NewsCentral Media