Singaporean

SPH Lays Off 140 Employees As Print Advertising Revenue Continues To Fall Amid COVID-19

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) announced on Tuesday (18 August) that over 140 employees from its media sales division and magazines — or 5 per cent of the overall media group’s headcount — will be retrenched.

Newsroom staff and journalists will not be affected by the restructuring exercise.

However, retrenchment costs are expected to hit S$8 million.

The retrenchment exercise was undertaken as part of an overall restructuring. While subscriptions and readership increased, advertising revenue has been impacted by Covid-19.

Revenue Dropped By S$6.2M In 2020 H1

In April, SPH reported that operating revenue dropped by S$6.2 million for the first half of 2020 due to low newspaper print advertisement revenue.

Overall media revenue shrunk 14.3 per cent, or S$42.3 million in the first half of 2020, and newspaper print advertisement revenue fell 20.4 per cent.

So far, SPH has shut down its magazines in Malaysia and the publication of Cleo, Young Parents and Shape. In March, the senior management of SPH took voluntary pay cuts of up to 10 per cent.

Last year, the media company cut 120 jobs to rein in costs. In 2017, another 2017 jobs were trimmed.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Creative Media and Publishing Union (CMPU) and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) have been alerted of the exercise.

SPH has further announced that the staff affected will receive compensation on terms negotiated with the union.

Extension Of The Jobs Support Scheme To Retain Workers

While no other layoffs have been planned, an SPH spokesperson stated that the decision will be dependent on when the economy recovers.

Although the Singapore government has been extending the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) to help companies retain staff, retrenchments are on the rise as Covid-19 ravages a slowed economy.

To ensure that the JSS remains sustainable, the subsidy scheme will be tweaked for different industries based on the projected recovery of the sector.

With Singapore’s unemployment rate rising to 2.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, an additional S$8 billion worth of measures to support workers were announced during a budget broadcast on Monday.

Featured Image Credit: SPH/ HRD Asia

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