New Delhi (November 15, 2011) : The National Union of Journalists (India) is greatly concerned that the notification issued by the Union Ministry of Labour today that makes the recommendations of the Majithia Wage Board for working journalists enforceable, has done great injustice to the moffusil correspondents mistakenly labeled as part-time working journalists, in so far as the existing provision of their entitlement at 50 per cent of the wages of the full time employees has been reduced from 50 to 40 per cent. This is against all principles of fairplay and is totally unacceptable. While the Government’s notification is welcome so far as it would give relief to working journalists after a gap of 13 long years of stalled pay scales for the last 11 months, the government has been regrettably hesitant to notify them despite repeated demands from the working journalists and other newspaper employees and even the apex court removing all impediments to such notification. Better late than never but meanwhile the employees have lost the enhanced allowances for this length of time already. To rectify the injustice, the Government should make the allowances applicable from the date it received the board’s report to rectify the loss that was caused to working journalists by its delay.
The NUJ(I) is shocked to find that the Central Government has, for the first time in the long history of wage boards , reduced the total benefit in the board’s report by excluding what provisions were passed by majority vote in the Board. This is in sharp contest to what previous Prime Ministers both Shri Rajiv Gandhi and Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee did in 1989 and 2001 respectively enhancing the benefits compared to what the then wage boards had recommended and thereby rendering justice to the working journalists and other newspaper employees.
The NUJ (I) also demands that the Government should proceed to act on the considered view that the Board took to enhance the penalty on employers for non-implementation of the notified wages including imprisonment. If that is not done, the employers would be emboldened to ignore the provisions of the country’s statute regarding working journalists and thwart the noble intention of Parliament that enacted the Working Journalists Act under the direction of Jawaharlal Nehru back in the 50s soon after India became independent.
The recommendations regarding a robust pension scheme, enhancement of retirement age and improved social security made by the Majithia Board have also not been acted upon in the notification. We demand that the Government take steps in this regard immediately. The NUJ(I) would like to point out to the Government that the recommendtions and sugestions altogether form a full sale package of doing justice to working journalists and other employees of newspapers and news agencies and they should be implemented as such and not partially. We demand that the Government does justice in full measure and not in part thereby fulfilling its obligation under the Working Journalists Act.