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TOP MONITOR SCRIBES GANG UP ON MD TONY GLENCROSS DRAGGING HIM TO COURT FOR RIGHTS’ VIOLATIONS

By Khasacha Mwene

Top Nation Media Group journalists working for Monitor Publications Limited and NTV have dragged their Managing Director Tony Glencross to court over the alleged violation of their labour rights. The legal tussle stems from the decision by the media company terminating their contracts in a restructuring exercise in March and April this year on account of redundancy.

The affected Monitor scribes include Richard Oundo, Eric Dominic Bukenya, Cissy Makumbi, Patrick Matsiko, Mark Kawalya, Stephen Segawa, Jennifer Aketch, Judge Luggya, Risdel Kasasira, Misairi Thembo Kahungu, Abdul Nasser Ssemugabi, Felix Basiime and Justus Katungi.  Those affected at NTV are Shawn Stuart Segawa, Kassim Kayima, Allan Mugabi, Chrismel Harris Wasswa and Phillips Emer.

Through their lawyer, the much-sought after Isaac Ssemakadde of Centre for Legal Aid, the journalists have dragged Monitor Publications Limited and Africa Broadcasting Uganda Limited (the name under which NTV operates) to Kampala Capital City Authority Central Labour Office accusing them of terminating their contracts without genuine reasons and without going through a full and fair consultation process jointly with them before making a final decision about their redundancy.

“In particular, the employer unjustifiably concealed the criteria it purportedly followed in reaching the decision to abolish some positions while retaining others in the same organizational structure, and in selecting the complainants as the unfit employees who had to be laid off for redundancy or other concealed reasons,” states lawyer Ssemakadde in his complaint letter to KCCA Labour Office.

The flamboyant lawyer, renowned for his brilliant litigation strategies and incorruptibility, adds: “In breach of sections 4, 23, 27(1), 43(6), 80, 91(1) and 92 of the Employment Act, 2006, the respondent, after laying off the complainants, unconscionably purported to exclude its liability to pay them due compensation for unfair dismissal, severance allowance and other accrued terminal benefits by requiring them to sign a release deed as a precondition for exit clearance.”

The scribes therefore request the KCCA Labour Office to carry out an inquiry to their respective grievances and issue appropriate orders to ensure that each complainant is made whole.

In Response, KCCA Labour Officer, Michael Baruch wrote to Glencross notifying him of the labour complaint on May 10, 2021, and asked him to settle the matter to the satisfaction of the complainants without reference to him and revert to him by May 24, 2021. Similarly, Ms. Irene Nabbumba, also a KCCA Labour Officer, wrote to Managing Director of African Broadcasting Uganda Limited (the company under which NTV Uganda operates) to handle the matter and report back to her by May 20, 2021.

The mainstream media industry in the country is currently operating in a turbulent era with decline in revenues forcing restructuring strategies aimed at cutting costs of operations.  Vision Group has also had its top journalists drag their employer to court after their contracts were changed from permanent to temporary status, throwing them off balance in their monthly income earnings.

NEW DEPLOYMENTS:

Meanwhile, following that dismissal of the NMG top scribes, the company has also announced new changes to the management of its business in Uganda, according to PML Daily, an online publication. Veteran journalist Tabu Butagira has been appointed the new Managing Editor for NMG in Uganda, in a re-organization announced on Monday May 10.

Butagira will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of all NMG platforms in line with the new departmental and corporate strategy and ensure fidelity to the NMG Group Editorial Policy Guidelines, said NMG General Manager Daniel K. Kalinaki, in an e-mail announcing the changes. He will now be looked upon to transform the group’s editorial direction while taking advantage of today’s changing media landscape.

“As we continue developing a paid-content business model, it is necessary to keep converging our operations to allow us use our resources more effectively and respond to changing audience needs,” Kalinaki wrote. He added: “To this end I would like to announce the following changes in the Editorial Department”.

Kalinaki also elevated Carol Beyanga to Head, Partnerships, Mentoring and Monetisation. Beyanga is also expected to drive NMG engagements with external partners to collaborate on content, while exploring ways to monetise it. She will report to the GME. In the same reorganisation, Julian Mwine has been promoted to Head of News, NMG Uganda.

He will lead a combined news desk that will serve all NMG platforms including NTV, Spark TV, Kfm, Dembe FM, Online and Daily Monitor out of one central hub. He will report to Butagira. Williams Kato and Yasiin Mugerwa will co-head the assignments Desk to coordinate the deployment of NMG reporting resources across platforms and across the country, and will both report to the Head of News.

Allan Chekwech and Makerere University lecturer Robert Madoi will co-head the Production Desk under which NMG will pool all producers and news sub-editors in order to centrally repurpose content for different platforms. They will both report to the new Managing Editor. In the same reshuffle, Eriasa Mukiibi has been appointed Head, User Hub to drive NMG audience engagement strategy, allowing the company to understand its audiences, their needs and interests, and realign all platforms to respond to them.

Mukiibi will work closely with the team in Nairobi to learn from the set up already underway there. Otim Lucima will take charge of the Saturday and Sunday Monitor and report to the Managing Editor while former NBS Investigations Editor Raymond Mujuni has been appointed Producer, Current Affairs to oversee the production of all NMG talk shows and current affairs coverage across all platforms, including Kfm and Dembe FM. Mujuni will report to the Head of News.

Aidah Nalubega will have an expanded mandate as Editorial Administrator for all platforms. She will be assisted by Fiona Akello. Kalinaki asked the team at NMG to support the deployments in their new roles. He said the reporting beats are currently being reorganised and changes will be communicated soon.(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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