Hundreds to lose jobs this week in latest media lay-off

Utusan Melayu staff clearing out their desks after being served with termination letters in October.

PETALING JAYA: Feathers have been ruffled among personnel at a flagship newspaper as a deadline nears for its owners to reveal a list of hundreds of staff to be axed this week, in the latest series of journalist lay-offs.

An internal source with the company, one of Malaysia’s largest media-related groups, said some 600 workers would be axed this Friday in the latest retrenchment exercise, half of them from the print daily.

But it said the management had yet to engage with union representatives despite promising to do so in October.

“They have a deadline to come up with a retrenchment list. It’s two days away, but unions were not engaged,” the source told FMT.

“Labour laws stipulate that those who will be affected must be informed.”

It is believed that the hundreds to lose their jobs this time cut across the board, and will have no choice or option to appeal when termination letters are served to them.

The retrenchments, if true, will come amid a spate of media company shutdowns and downsizing exercises in an industry which has seen thousands lose their jobs over the last three years.

On Oct 9, Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo! announced their final appearance at news stands nationwide after publisher Utusan Melayu Bhd went into liquidation.

Early last month, Media Prima, which owns the New Straits Times Press and a slew of television channels, announced job cuts affecting thousands of employees. It said this was part of a “restructuring exercise” to be completed by the first quarter of next year.