In September 2018, it was reported that staff salaries at Utusan were going to be delayed for the second consecutive month due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’. In a staff circular, September salaries were due to be paid by October 7. This came after salaries for executives in August were delayed. In an attempt to remedy the financial situation, Utusan had offered voluntary separation scheme (VSS) to over half of its 1,500 employees in September.
According to NUJM not only were salary payments delayed, but salary deductions, including employee provident fund (retirement fund) and union fees, were not been passed on to relevant organisations. According to NUJM they have not received payment of Utusan member fees since May; meaning over USD 5,000 is overdue.
The NUJM said: “For the sake of the remaining members of the NUJ and the existing workers in the newspaper, the NUJ appeals to the government to initiate a much needed support to sustain the nation's oldest newspaper for the sake of its heritage being imparted throughout the years.”
The IFJ said: “The fact that staff are not being paid on time raises serious concerns about the financial stability of Utusan and the future of those it employs. The management at Utusan must take immediate steps to guarantee the monies owed to staff, including union fees and employee provident funds and ensure these are paid up to date immediately. Journalists and media workers cannot be expected to work and not know when their next pay will come.”