Resolution adopted at Union Council Meeting in Ranchi: Wage Board Recommendations and Government Notification(Detail Page)

Resolution adopted at Union Council Meeting in Ranchi: Wage Board Recommendations and Government Notification

National Union of Journalist(I)
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This meeting of the Union Council of the National Union of Journalists (India) held in Ranchi on November 27, 2011 regrets that the Union Labour Ministry has chosen to ignore the plea made by us to amend the recommendations of the Majithia Wage Board to reduce the remuneration to the mofussil correspondents from existing 50 per cent of the wages applicable to full time working journalists to 40 per cent. Thereby the Government has perpetuated the injustice inherent in the recommendation to the so-called part time correspondents.# The NUJ (I) had provided adequate material before the Majithia Wage Board in support of the Union’s stand that the mofussil correspondents are in a situation of 24X7 vigil on developments in their beat and therefore should be treated at par with the full time city reporters. It is significant that the Majithia Wage Board in its report has given no reason or justification for its recommendation to reduce the remuneration. The Government should have taken into consideration the fact that the Working Journalists (Conditions of Service and Other Miscellaneous Provisions) Act authorises it to make changes in the recommendations specifically for the purpose of removing anomalies and injustice in them. We therefore demand that the Government immediately modify its notification dated November 11, 2011 to at least restore the old provision and revert to the provision of 50 per cent, even though full justice to them demands that they be granted benefits given to the full time employees.# The Government should realise that with the widening spread and penetration of the print media the mofussil news has become a major competitive advantage for newspapers and news agencies and to that extent their role has become critical for the success of the print media. The newspapers have been taking advantage of the passion of working journalists in these far flung areas to their profession and exploiting them for decades. The NUJ (I) demands that this exploitation should end through a legitimate government intervention provided by the need to notify a fresh set of pay scales and allowances in the newspaper and news agency service.# This meeting also regrets that the Government even after considering the Majithia Wage Board recommendations for such a long time, failed to follow the letter and spirit of the Working Journalists Act. This is more so in the matter of government not including the majority recommendations of the Board in the notification. These have been appended to the Board’s report. In the explanation given for its non-inclusion in the main body the board has pleaded that this was mainly due to lack of time to recalculate some key points in the report. This is a weak plea as the Government at least had enough time to do the work after the recommendations were submitted to it. The unjust reality is that with the implementation of the Government notification the working journalists at the lower as well as upper level would still be receiving wages that would be far below that of the comparable professions elsewhere. It means that despite some benefits gained by the working journalists, the Majithia Wage Board has not radically altered the injustice that was prevailing for the working journalists who play such a critical role in the functioning of our constitutional system and democracy.# Despite the new pay scales and allowances recommended by the Board falling short of prevailing wage rates in comparable professions in the country, and the wage revision itself is coming after a long wait of 13 years, the newspaper and news agency managements have taken a hostile attitude and are threatening to not implementing the Recommendations.# The NUJ (I) demands that the Government stands up on its statutory mandate in this regard and not succumb to the virtual political blackmail implied in this decision of the employers. The NUJ (I) will work in co-ordination with the other working journalist and other newspaper/news agency employees unions within the framework of the Confederation to further the cause of the working journalists. This meeting acknowledges the handiwork and contribution of the trade union members in the Board and others, especially places on record its appreciation of Dr. N.K. Trikha and Mr M.S. Yadav in getting justice to the employees in the print media. The fact that the mechanism of the wage board has once again been shown to be useful in improving the working conditions of the print media employees should encourage and inspire more fellow working journalists to actively work in the union and help it to render justice to them.# Proposed by: Mr Rajendra Prabhu# Union Council Meeting, Ranchi# November 27, 2011

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