Wage board recommends 3 times pay hike for Indian journalists
New Delhi - The Wage Boards for working journalists and non-journalists and other newspaper employees in India have recommended 2.5 to 3 times hike in basic pay and fixing the retirement age at 65.
To be implemented retrospectively from January 8, 2008, the revised basic pay has been computed after merging the existing basic pay, the dearness allowance and the 30 per cent interim relief that had been already granted, an official statement issued by the government said.
The panels have also suggested establishment of a permanent tribunal consisting of employees and employers for grievance redressal, Justice G R Majithia, who headed the panels, said after presenting the reports to Labour and Employment Secretary Prabhat Chaturvedi.
The revised basic pay has been computed after merging the existing basic pay, the dearness allowance (DA) and the 30 per cent interim relief already granted besides 35 per cent variable pay. Taking into account the concept of grade pay introduced in the Sixth Pay Commission, the two boards also introduced a "variable pay" for all employees working in newspaper establishments and news agencies. The boards proposed a variable pay of 35 per cent. This will be implemented from July 1, 2010.
The basic pay at the entry level could be anywhere around Rs 9,000 while the basic pay drawn at the senior level could be around Rs. 25,000 in a category 1 media house.
The recommendations would be examined by the Labour Ministry before they are tabled before the Union Cabinet for approval.
The boards also recommended that the DA be paid biannually with effect from July 1 and January 1 every year and the rate of neutralisation for determining the DA would be 100 per cent of the basic pay for all groups of employees. The boards also recommended revision of house rent, transport, and night shift allowances.
They recommended that the house rent allowance be paid at the rate of 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent of the basic pay to employees posted in areas defined as area X, Y and Z respectively. The transport allowance at the rate of 20 per cent, 10 per cent and five per cent shall be paid by newspaper establishments to its employees posted in respective areas defined as X, Y and Z respectively. The hardship allowance has been recommended at Rs 1000 for employees working in hilly areas.
The employees working in the newspaper establishment of classes I and II and classes III and IV shall be paid medical allowance at the rate of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 per month per employee respectively. But no medical allowance shall be paid to employees who are covered by the Employees State Insurance Corporation.
News agencies with a revenue of over Rs 60 crore have been put in the same place as top rung newspapers following the Boards' reclassification of news papers and news agencies. Press Trust of India (PTI), therefore, has been put in the top spot with United News of India (UNI) in the second slot.
The Wage Boards were constituted three years ago for the purpose of fixing or revising rates of wages in respect of working journalists and non-journalists and other newspaper employees.
चंडीगढ़ : सिटी ब्यूटीफुल में हरियाणा मंत्रिमंडल की बैठक के बाद मुख्यमंत्री भूपेंद्र सिंह हुड्डा के संवाददाता सम्मेलन के दौरान एक पत्रकार ने मांग की कि हरियाणा आवास बोर्ड में पत्रकारों के लिए आरक्षण बढ़ा दिया जाए। इस पर मुख्यमंत्री भी कहां चूकने वाले थे। तुरंत ही कह डाला- अगर पत्रकारों की ओर से ऐसा कोई मांग पत्र आता है तो इस पर विचार किया जाएगा।
हरियाणा के जनसंपर्क विभाग की ओर से जारी प्रेस विज्ञप्ति में बताया गया है कि एक पत्रकार ने हरियाणा आवास बोर्ड के मकानों में पत्रकारों के आरक्षण को डेढ़ प्रतिशत से बढ़ाकर तीन प्रतिशत करने की मांग की। साथ ही इसी में लिखा गया है कि हरियाणा देश का पहला ऐसा राज्य है, जहां पत्रकारों के कल्याण के लिए मीडिया पालिसी बनाई गई है। अब इस विज्ञप्ति में इन पत्रकार महोदय का नाम तो नहीं है। अगर किसी पत्रकार महोदय को पता हो तो वह सार्वजनिक कर दे।
मेरा एक बार फिर यह सवाल है कि पत्रकार हर बार सरकार से क्यों मांगते हैं। अगर उन्हें कुछ मांगना ही है तो उन मालिकों से मांगें जिनके यहां वे नौकरी करते हैं। जब वे तनखा निजी संस्थानों से लेते हैं तो फिर सरकार उन्हें सुविधाएं क्यों दे। दरअसल उन मालिकों से मांगने की तो किसी में हिम्मत होती नहीं और सरकार के सामने जब देखो तब हाथ फैला लेते हैं। मांगना है तो खुलकर अपनी काबलियत के हिसाब से मालिकों से मांगे। नहीं दें तो फिर धरने, प्रदर्शन करो। यह हक है तुम्हारा। तुम दूसरों के धरने, प्रदर्शन की तो खूब खबरें छापते हो और बहुत से नेताओं, पार्टियों व संगठनों को समय-समय पर अंगुली भी करते हो, फिर अपने पर यह बात लागू क्यों नहीं करते।
हरियाणा सरकार ने भी मीडिया पालिसी के नाम पर पत्रकारों को सुविधाएं दे रखी हैं। मान्यता के नाम पर ही बड़ा खेल चलता है। हर किसी की चाहत रहती है कि किसी तरह सरकार की ओर से मान्यता मिल जाए बस एक बार। मानो जिसको मान्यता मिल गई, उससे बड़ा पत्रकार कोई नहीं। इसी मान्यता के आधार पर दीपावली पर मुख्यमंत्री महोदय की ओर से उपहार भेजा जाता है।
I am wondering as to why The Indian Newspaper Society or the INS is publishing advertisements in newspapers, against the wage board for journalist & non-journalist employees! I am shocked to see the humiliating language that these advertisements contain, saying: “If this is implemented, a peon may receive upto Rs.45,000 a month and a driver may get upto Rs.50,000”.
Is it right to identify your employees as such, irrespective of their designations? Naming your employees who put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into their work in this manner is like openly insulting them without any fault. I protest this malicious attempt by the newspaper owners. I also condemn the such false, provocative, baseless and misleading campaign by those who have the capacity to buy space and publish anything they desire. Not only should they immediately withdraw this series, an apology to this effect may then be published.
But then, I am also wondering as to why those claiming to be the representatives of journalist & non-journalist employees on the wage board are not reacting to this daily dose of demeaning advertisements? But could they really oppose their masters with whom they are pally-pally otherwise! Moreover, I found a representation from employees’ side only that read: “Majority of the Sub-Staffs or Class IV staffs in PTI are getting a salary of Rs.20,000 or more. Majority of the Sub-Staffs are not even matriculate but they are getting a salary of Rs.20,000 or more ..” Quite shameful.
What should I say then — As you sow, so you reap! Accha tell me, do you know who are the representatives of journalist & non-journalist employees in the wage board! What do they do! Who had authorised them to represent us? What is their locus standi? How many journalists and non-journalists they actually represent? O my God, even the wage board website is silent about them and their activities.
Justice Majithia (left), Chairman of the Wage Boards for working journalists and non-journalists and other newspaper employees, submitting the recommendations to Labour Secretary P.K. Chaturvedi in New Delhi.
Former Supreme Court Judge Justice G.R.Majhithia had submitted his wage board report to the government on December 31, 2010, recommending a modest rise in salary and benefits for workers of the newspaper industry, to which the INS had reacted sharply. But Justice Majithia had said that a fine, fair and judicious balance had been achieved between the expectations and aspirations of the employees and the capacity and willingness of the employers to pay.
Now we are given to understand that therecommendations of the Majithia wage board have gone to the Supreme Court. But no one seems to be concerned as to who will be actually benefiting if this wage board report were to be implemented. Could we ensure implementation of earlier wage boards that were notified by the government from time to time? I want that the benefits — which are actually too little too late — must be passed on to all the journalist & non-journalist workers of the entire media industry; and not just the selected few of the print industry only. And before that, confirm the services of contract workers so that they could be brought at par and put in the fitting scale under the wage board.
There shouldn’t be untouchables, as I know there are hundreds of thousands of stringers and part-timers across the country who do not have any proper designations even. Further, their names do not figure in their company’s muster roll and they are paid just few hundred rupees… yes, not even $10. My heart goes out to them and their family.
India’s Labour Minister M Mallikarjun Kharge says wage board recommendations have been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office which would put them up before the government for implementation. But his role is also limited to be one of a facilitator only, as he himself says that the whole exercise is a tripartite kind of an arrangement among trade unions, employers and the government. “Government’s role here is one of a facilitator”.
Some so-called representatives from the workers’ side though say they will hold sit-ins and protest the delay in notification of wage boards. But their rhetoric seems more like salvaging their self-exalted positions. Many of them have no connection with the workers now, some do not have any standing whatsoever. Still they are basking in the Delhi summer.
BACKGROUND: The Ministry of Labour & Employment vide Notifications No. S.O. 809(E) and 810 (E) dated 24th May 2007 as well as Notifications No. S.O. 1066 (E) and 1067(E) dated 3.7.2007 had constituted two separate statutory Wage Boards – one for Working Journalists and another for other Newspaper Employees – in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 9 of the Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 (45 of 1955) under the Chairmanship of Dr. Justice K. Narayana Kurup, formerly Judge, High Court of Kerala and Acting Chief Justice, High Court of Madras for the purpose of fixing and revising rates of wages in respect of Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees, respectively.
Consequent upon resignation of Dr. Justice K. Narayana Kurup, the Government of India then appointed Justice G.R. Majithia as Chairman of Wage boards vide Notification nos. S.O. 580(E) and S.O. 581 (E) dated 28th February 2009. The Wage Boards are tripartite in character in which representative of workers, employers, independent members participate and finalize the recommendation. The Wage Boards for journalists and non – journalist newspaper and news-agency employees are statutory in nature. The prime responsibility for implementing the recommendations of the Wage Board rests with the concerned State Governments / Union Territories under the provision of the act.