Tiso Blackstar faces tough trading conditions

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Newspaper publisher Tiso Blackstar continues to face tough trading conditions which has resulted in its share prices dwindling by 80% in the past eight years. The company owns several media brands; including Business Day, The Sowetan and The Financial Mail. The publisher’s revenue has been hit hard by the changing landscape in news consumption.

Some employees of the company have now embarked on a strike as the company battles to pay salary increases and bonuses.

The Information Communication Technology Union, ICTU, has accused Tiso Blackstar of negotiating in bad faith. Several employees have been picketing from Thursday demanding a 20% wage increase, better working conditions and compulsory bonuses. The union has accused Tiso Blackstar of racism and serving their members with Section 189 retrenchment notices without consultation. It says the company is pleading poverty whereas the executives are earning massive salaries. ICTU National Spokesperson, Thabang Mothelo, says the company served employees with notifications to retrench.

“After we issued the employer with notification to strike, they then served the employees with a notification to retrench workers and this is disgusting.”

In 2015, the share price was at R14.80 per share. It fell by 80% to R3 per share. Its revenue from the media business has been on a downward spiral. It declined by nearly 6% in the six months ending December 2018.

Tiso Blackstar has denied allegations of racism. Deputy Managing Director, Moshoeshoe Monare, says media industry retrenchments are everywhere.

“As you know that in the media industry retrenchments are everywhere; we don’t dismiss people based on the colour of their skin, it’s based on the realities of tough trading conditions.”

The union has vowed to intensify it’s protest action next week ahead of the elections and will also be handing over a memorandum of demands to Tiso Blackstar.