HT Media, which publishes Hindustan Times, Mint and Hindustan, and runs three popular radio channels, has announced up to 15% pay cuts for employees earning more than Rs 6 lakh per annum.
According to multiple sources, these pay cuts were temporary and the move should be seen as deferment as the remaining amount would be paid as a part of the variable bonus once the market recovers by the end of this fiscal.
"We have implemented salary cuts and the communication has gone to all the employees," said a source.
The senior management of the company had already taken a pay cut when the first lockdown was announced. The company waited 21 days to announce the cuts across the board for all employees earning more than Rs 6 lakh per annum.
"During the first lockdown, there were cuts for senior management so we did not make any announcement about it. All the senior members took the cuts voluntarily so that the front-liners would not be impacted. We wanted to stay true to the HT brand that the team is important. We did not do it even though everyone else was doing it. We tried to stay up for 21 days to see where the situation was headed," another source on the condition of anonymity said.
An executive who did not want to be named said the print revenue for all publications have been negligible as newspaper delivery continues to be affected because of the lockdown.
However, the move cannot be quoted as a salary cut, the executive told BestMediaInfo.com.
HT Media has been posting losses for the last three quarters. In Q1 of the current fiscal, it posted a loss of over Rs 140 crore, which was narrowed down in Q2.
The media industry overall has been struggling and there have been pay cuts and sacking across the board.
It may be recalled that the Express Group that publishes Indian Express and Financial Express along with the digital platform https://indianexpress.com/ had set the precedence in the beginning of the lockdown. The company, in the first week of April, announced a temporary salary cut across owing to business pressure due to the coronavirus crisis.
Following the Express Group, the Sunday magazine team at The Times of India that was producing four-pager Times Life was asked to leave.
Raghav Bahl’s Quintillion Media, which runs general news website thequint.com and business news website bloombergquint.com, undertook drastic cost-cutting measures to survive the onslaught of the Covid-19 crisis.
While The Quint sent an estimated 50% employees on a “furlough” (i.e., leave without pay, LWP) w.e.f. April 15 until further notice, Bloomberg Quint went for heavy salary cuts of up to 75%.
Hindi news channel News Nation has asked its entire English digital team of 15 people to leave. The sacked employees accused the channel of not giving them termination notice or not being allowed to serve their notice period.