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HOW ROBERT KABUSHENGA TAMED MASS STAFF EXODUS

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By Mulengera Reporters

At the beginning of the year 2020, there was anxiety that a number of Vision Group editorial employees would throw in the towel and quit protesting under payment for their labor. The impending mass staff exodus became more likely after some of the very influential and hardworking journalists exited after management repeatedly ignored their demands for higher pay. These included John Semakula, Carol Natukunda, Ronald Mugabe and Vickie Wandawa. The four quit within space of just months; one following the other. And they were all from the weekend team which has since been integrated into the newly created education & information hub headed by James Serunkuma Sr. The four hard working scribes exited after failing to get their meager pay enhanced by management that kept saying business wasn’t good.

 

Whereas Semakula was a senior political reporter, mostly on politics, Carol Natukunda was a key features writer who had ably filled the gap left by the departure of the likes of Angela Kintu, Namubiru, Elizabeth Agiro and others. Despite her long service to the company and hard work, Natukunda was earning a gross monthly pay of less than Shs3m. She demanded for more and an indifferent management ignored her insisting that no one was indispensable at Vision Group. Left with no option, the babe who famously covered the Dominic Ongwen trial at the ICC and had previously been mentored by Fortunate Ahimbisibwe in covering the education bit, threw in towel for greener pastures at a Kamwokya-based NGO where she works up to this day.

Natukunda’s departure inspired others to write mails announcing their departure too including John Semakula who easily accepted a better paying job of lecturing at UCU Mukono where he had graduated earlier. He had been elevated to the position of senior reporter but yet his salary stagnated at Shs2m which he earned before being promoted to senior rank. Ronald Mugabe, who proudly marries Gospel singer Joy Tendo, too threw in towel over pay-related disgruntlement and these days happily runs family businesses along with his celebrity wife.

 

Vickie Wandawa, who had previously come from Daily Monitor to take health features writer job at New Vision, also quit after management refused to increase her pay from mere Shs1.5m per month. That was gross meaning it would come something much less after several other statutory expenses are deducted. Just like Mugabe, she was demoralized when others, who she considered to be less hardworking than her, got promoted to senior reporter status as she stagnated at a junior rank. She is these days seated at home strictly surviving as a house wife as her dear husband Nelson Naturinda brings home everything. Sources say they are a nice couple that is deeply spiritual the very reason they weren’t shaken recently when Nelson got demoted from being head the digital hub at Vision Group, a role that was assigned to more productive Penelope Nankunda. Naturinda now remorselessly serves as head upcountry news (for print, digital and electronic) under the new structure that has categorized all editorial operations at Vision Group into hubs.

 

It was originally feared that the resignations similar to those referred to above would only escalate which somehow never happened. What is that CEO Robert Kabushenga did to stem this very worrying trend? On seeing many others sending in notices of their impending exit, Kabushenga rallied his members of top management and persuaded them to give a little bit of concession to make staff feel valued and appreciated. Because such demands came from everywhere, the Robert Kabushenga-led management decided to give a blanket increment of 5% for all Group employees, a thing that deescalated things a bit. Many that previously intended to leave, shelved their plans until March when the Coronavirus pandemic set in and imposed totally new realities and in the process constraining every organization’s capabilities to recruit new staff or to even offer pay rise. As employees reflected on the new COVID19 reality, management announced 40% pay cut for the lucky ones that weren’t sent on forced leave that actually ends today Tuesday 30th June 2020. In the current COVID19 situation, nobody can risk demanding for pay rise when even mere being retained would cause one to count him or herself lucky notwithstanding the 40% pay cut. For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at mulengera2040@gmail.com).

 

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