A meeting of the Central Working Committee of the All India Newspaper Employees Federation was held in New Delhi on March 19-20, 2017 in New Delhi. The Honourable Justice Jasti Chelameswar of the Supreme Court of India was the chief guest. Justice Chelameswar made an impassioned speech on the need for fostering democracy in the country and the role of a free press in defending it. He also called for better wages and pension for journalists. He said that employees of the state benefit from decent wages and periodic revision of wages but the needs of those in the private and unorganized sectors are not addressed by lawmakers. He urged the unions to unite all media workers to achieve their goals.
The meeting was presided over by S.K.Pande, President of the Delhi Union of Journalists, who called for greater unity and struggle by media employees to ensure freedom of the press, implementation of the Majithia Wage Board and announcement of a new wage board by the government. He also called for an autonomous media commission because of the new emerging media.
Chief among the newspaper and newsagency leaders who were felicitated at the meeting for the determined and fruitful struggle for the Majithia Wage Board was M.S. Yadav, Secretary General of the Confederation of Newspaper and Newsagency Employees Unions.
AINEF General Secretary Balagopalan V. recalled the glorious six decades of struggle by the AINEF and called for proper implementation of the Majithia Wage Board, and also demanded that the government immediately announce a new wage board. He also made a case for a decent pension for all employees.
AINEF Secretary Boopathi called for strengthening the organization with greater participation and contributions from member unions.
AINEF Treasurer Roopchand recalled the long years of struggle by the organization and called for revitalizing the organization which has suffered from the unfortunate loss of several outstanding leaders. He said the finances of AINEF should be strengthened.
AINEF Secretary C.S. Naidu informed members of the status of the contempt cases regarding non-implementation of the Majithia award that is ongoing in the Supreme Court.
The meeting was coordinated by DUJ General Secretary Sujata Madhok. CWC members from several states participated in the meeting and reported on the status of the newspaper industry and its employees, with a focus on implementation of the Wage Board and struggles against retrenchment. The states that were represented were Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
A Charter was formulated, including: the announcement of a new wage board; the full and proper implementation e Majithia Wage Board; an end to the exploitative contract system of employment; an end to arbitrary terminations and retrenchments in the industry; raising of retirement age to 60 years; a national pension scheme; the appointment of a Media Commission to examine the state of the industry; and the appointment of an autonomous Media Council of India to replace the Press Council of India and include the electronic media in its purview.