The epidemic of coronavirus continues, with all industries facing pressure including media organizations. The South China Morning Post mentioned in an internal email that due to the continued demonstrations and the coronavirus epidemic, the turnover in the first quarter fell by 50% year-on-year. It is expected that the operating environment will be more difficult in the second half of the year, so it will implement cost-saving measures including layoff and require employees with a monthly salary of more than $20,000 voluntarily take three weeks of unpaid leave. HKJA is deeply concerned over this.
HKJA understands that the current Hong Kong media business environment is difficult, and the epidemic has made the situation even worse. However, the layoffs and unpaid leave arrangements, regardless of whether they are for editorial staff or not, will also hurt their morale. Actually, employers requiring employees to take unpaid leave is equivalent to a pay cut, the relevant measures will put employees under pressure.
HKJA calls on media operators to consider other positive measures to avoid layoffs or request unpaid leave. Affected journalists may seek assistance from HKJA if they encounter labour-management problems.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
22 April 2020