SPH Lays Off 140 Workers As Advertising Revenue Falls Amid COVID-19

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) announced Tuesday, August 18, that more than 140 employees in its media and magazine sales division – or 5% of the media group’s overall workforce – will be laid off.

Editorial staff and journalists will not be affected by the restructuring exercise.

However, downsizing costs are expected to reach S $ 8 million.

The downsizing exercise was undertaken as part of a global restructuring. As subscriptions and readership have increased, advertising revenue has been affected by Covid-19.

Sales decreased by S $ 6.2 million in the first half of 2020

In April, SPH reported that operating revenue fell by S $ 6.2 million for the first half of 2020 due to weak newspaper advertising revenue.

Overall media revenue fell 14.3% to S $ 42.3 million in the first half of 2020, and print newspaper advertising revenue fell 20.4%.

So far, SPH has closed its magazines in Malaysia and the publication of Cleo, Young Parents and Shape. In March, SPH’s senior management agreed to voluntary pay cuts of up to 10 percent.

Last year, the media company cut 120 jobs to keep costs down. In 2017, another 2017 job was cut.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Union of Creative Media and Publishing (CMPU) and the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) have been alerted to the exercise.

SPH further announced that the affected staff will receive compensation under terms negotiated with the union.

Extension of the employment support scheme to retain workers

Although no further layoffs have been planned, a spokesperson for SPH said the decision will depend on whether the economy recovers.

Although the Singapore government has expanded the Employment Support Program (JSS) to help companies retain staff, downsizing is on the rise as Covid-19 ravages a sluggish economy.

To ensure the sustainability of the JSS, the subsidy system will be adapted for different industries depending on the expected recovery of the sector.

With Singapore’s unemployment rate hitting 2.9% in the second quarter of 2020, an additional $ 8 billion in worker supports was announced in a budget release on Monday.

Featured Image Credit: SPH / HRD Asia

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Jothi Venkat

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