Tiso Blackstar Faces Staff Revolt Over Pay at Sunday Times

Tiso Blackstar Group SE is facing a revolt over pay by staff at South Africa’s biggest Sunday newspaper, the Sunday Times, and a sister publication after staff learnt they wouldn’t be getting annual bonuses.

Employees at the weekly and the daily Times newspaper demanded that their canceled bonus be reinstated and pay be raised by at least 8 percent in a letter sent to management on Nov. 13, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg.

“Despondency is the enemy of productivity,” staff said in the letter. “Motivated and appreciated staff members are what every company needs,” they said, demanding a response by Nov. 20.

In a text message response, Andrew Bonamour, a director of Tiso Blackstar, said staff “didn’t meet criteria for bonuses.” Tiso Blackstar this year completed its acquisition of Times Media Group, which owns the two newspapers as well as Business Day and the Financial Mail. The Sunday Times’ profits slumped 42 percent and circulation dropped to 320,000 from more than 400,000, Bonamour said.

Private equity company Tiso Blackstar is listed in London and its stock has declined 30 percent over the past six months.

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