(All Africa Global Media) — Struggling Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) this week paid its employees with grocery vouchers to be redeemed at OK Supermarkets.
Earlier this month, the publisher applied for exemption from paying retrenched staff citing viability challenges.
AMH is owned by media magnate Trevor Ncube and publishes NewsDay and two weeklies, The Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard. Ncube also owns the weekly Mail and Guardian in South Africa.
Disgruntled workers at AMH’s Harare base told NewZimbabwe.com that they were surprised to receive grocery vouchers worth $100 and $50 cash as part salary payment this week.
The company reportedly owes its workers three month salaries.
The situation was said to be worse for freelance journalists based in the provinces who have allegedly not been paid over the last 6 months.
“We do not pay rent using grocery vouchers,” lamented one employee, asking not to be named fearing victimisation.
“Our colleagues that were sent home are in a better position as we are now subsidising the operations of the company.
“Where does management think we are getting the money to report for work every day?”
Efforts to get a comment form AMH management were unsuccessful but appearing before the Retrenchment Board earlier this month, managing director Vincent Kahiya said the company was struggling to stay afloat.
He said AMH not generated any meaningful revenue from sales and advertising since January 2014.
“We have failed to meet expenses and the company is in a perpetual loss making position and which has affected its ability to pay employees full monthly salaries timeously since January 2014,” Kahiya said then.