SCA will stand down or reduce working hours for a number of employees this week as it makes more strategic moves to survive the ecomomic damage of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an email to staff, CEO Grant Blackley said the company has assessed the workload requirements of the business.
Available work will be “appropriately matched with the workforce” in the current circumstances, resulting in a temporary reduction in work hours for some employees. The company is “working closely with all employees” during this time to ensure they are supported through the difficult period.
Blackley has told radioinfo:
Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult for everyone – including for our business and our people. I have every faith in the strength and tenacity of our people and business and I know we will come through this together, prouder and stronger.
At the end of March, SCA announced that all staff earning over $68,000 p/a would be required to take an immediate 10% pay cut for the next six months. The change did not apply to any employees paid an award-based wage and Blackley said no employee would be required to work overtime. The network has also made other strategic moves, including a capital raising and cancellation of bonuses.
These new stand-downs come in areas where there is now no work available for employees. SCA has applied and will receive the JobKeeper allowance, which is expected to allow it to keep stood-down staff on the books so that when the revenue turns around, most will presumably be able to return to work. Employees are also being encouraged to take leave where possible.
This reduction in work pattern will be a ‘partial stand down’. Remuneration will be pro-rated to reflect the reduction in that work pattern.
Not all parts of SCA’s workload are adversely impacted and some staff will not need to reduce their hours, however, all staff earning over $68k will take the temporary pay cut announced earlier.
SCA is one of several television and radio networks having to make some tough decisions during the pandemic driven advertising slump. It is not known whether SCA’s biggest downturn in revenue is in radio or television, but all areas are affected by the stand-downs.
Rival Seven Network in Queensland has today closed its Gladstone 7 News bureau and made several staff redundant. A 7 News cameraman in the Hervey Bay bureau was also made redundant, as was a reporter in the Sunshine Coast bureau in Maroochydore.
Seven’s massive news ratings, averaging close to an 80 share along the Queensland coast, have not shielded the news operations from severe cuts. Insiders say all Seven Queensland production teams have also been shown the door today.