Majithia : We want to assure the court order of july 6 thus clearly enquiry on the alleged non-implementation & the report from inspectors is awaited for action : NUJ

New Delhi : National union of Journalists (NUJ) said ; members are assured by the Hon’ble Supreme Court order of July 6, that the contempt proceedings in the court against newspaper managements are on and would be heard in due course and that the court’s order of July 6  rejects only the second batch of contempt petitions recd after due date.  


General Secretary of the Confederation MS Yadav has issued the following statement. Understand that the INS has pressurized all its members to publish a truncated version of the court order to mislead public that the contempt issue has been dismissed.  Beware against this conspiracy and insist that your newspaper publishes the correct version and not the INS? HT inspired tainted version.  Also tell all members the fact. Please take urgent action and inform us about it.

Confederation of Newspaper and News Agency Employees’ Organisations in our press release said; SC order of July 6 on contempt petitions regarding Majithia wage board recommendation implementation: ” It is regrettable that some newspaper reports on the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court on the batch of contempt of court petitions submitted after the due date, have sought to carry the impression that the court has rejected the entire issue of contempt of court against newspaper/agency managements. 

The Confederation assures our members and all unions in the newspaper industry that the set of petitions numbering 51 alleging contempt of court for not implementing the court’s order of 7 Feb 2014 validating the Central Govt notification on the Majithia wage board recommendation and asking the managements to implement the provisions of the notification from April 1, 2014, STLL STAND and will be considered by the court in due course. 

The SC bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice M.Y. Eqbal on July 6, 2015 that the issue raised that is “disobedience of court’s order as alleged in these petitions” (that is the more recent petitions) “IS BEING LOOKED INTO in connected matters” ( court order dated 28-4-2015) “appointing inspectors to make enquiry and submit reports to this court”. in view of this earlier order and ongoing enquiry into implementation as per the earlier order the court said ” we consider the same’ ( that is the fresh set of petitions) “to be redundant”.

The legislation governing the contempt action in section 20 lays down the time limit for raising the contempt issue on a court order as one year. The second batch of petitions by various workers and unions were received after the time limit was over. Hence they were time barred. The apex court order specifically points out that the core issue of alleged contempt is under investigation and therefore is alive. In some reports an attempt has been made to obfuscate this distinction and mislead the public in our view. A copy of the court’s order is attached for your perusal.



The Confederation will consider whether we should notify appropriate forum for action regarding the tendentious reports as appeared in some newspapers to cleverly give the impression that the contempt issue has been rejected by the court even though the central issue still is before the apex court.

Let us first take the major claim that the mass of labour laws and rigidity they impose of the flexibility of using labour in tandem with the volatility in demand in the economy is the major reason why new investments are not taking place, thus restricting job growth in the country.  Nowadays to give this a new edge, the claim is that the country has a narrow demographic window and if millions who need jobs are denied the opportunity, the window will soon vanish and widespread distress will be the result.  It is some economists who stress this argument.

 The labour laws have been in existence in the country ever since independence and many of these even before. To those who hold up Inspector Raj as the deterrent to new investments, we would advise them to live in Singapore or US and watch what happens if they fail to pay their maid the minimum prescribed wage.  In the last 60 years and more the country has moved forward investing in a whole range of enterprises from steel to ships, from salt to software.  The public sector alone has expanded from machine tools to tourism.  In the private sector,  a large number of business families apart from the old ones like the Tatas,  Birlas, Bajajs and Bajorias to Ambanis, Essars, Mittals, etc. have emerged and they are in new areas like oil to pharmaceuticals.  Almost every second week the pink papers are telling us that the race for the richest Indian is between Reliance’s Ambanis and Sun Pharma’s Shanghis.  The Indian pharma industry has entered the American market.

None of these developments has been constrained by the labour laws of the country. Their growth is a tribute to the spirit of enterprise of the promoters and to organized labour that has partnered them. There are 97billionaires in India, the rise mainly between 1991 and 2013 all set to grow to 119 by 2023, an increase of 98 per cent. Foreign based Indian billionaires like Laxmi Mittal and Anil Agarwal have invested in India and are looking for even more investments.  If there have been setbacks in these laudable enterprises labour is the least roadblock.  This applies to foreign investments in India also.  Government policies, environment 

problems etc are the main hurdles for new investments.  A single “clarification” on Minimum Alternate Tax the other day from the Finance Ministry made the FIIs take the first plane back from India leading to a stock market crisis.

Take for instance NRI owned Vedanta group’s proposal for a huge bauxite mining and processing enterprise in poorest district of Odessa or South Korean giant Pasco’s 12 million ton steel plant in that state.  The bauxite project was driven out by local tribal opposition and the Pasco project is limping because local farmers don’t want to lose their land.  When Tata’s were forced to scrap their car factory at a new site in West Bengal and looked for a secure place elsewhere it was not labour trouble but the dispute with local farmers.  West Bengal is often cited as the worst example of labour trouble but surprisingly, tobacco to hospitality giant ITC operates in headquarters from Kolkata even though it has establishments across the country.  Out of the over 363 stalled projects in the country as per Economic Times dated 4June 2015, almost every one is having problems with government policies on exit, on investment norms, on environmental and other clearances. None has been stalled because some trade union hotheads have put their foot down on the machines.

What has happened to the automobile industry is a very good illustration that  the contention that labour laws are the constraint on new investments, local or foreign,  is a big myth propagated by the lobby that has resources to hire economists and others to perpetuate this myth much against facts.  Trade unions find it often difficult to get their views across in some detail and have to be content with a para or two in newspapers.  Till about middle of the 80s, it was government policy that restricted investment in passenger cars to only two private companies and that too to a limited production number of a few thousand pieces.  The moment this policy changed, investments began to flow in from all sides, more particularly from foreign MNCs.  Now there are passenger car makers from Japan, South Korea, US, Germany, France and others.  These new investors must have studied Indian labour laws (all 44 of those devilish laws according to the 

reforms lobby) and yet decided to set up their factories here in so many states, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, for instance.  

The violent experience of the Japanese company Suzuki in the investment in Maruti car manufacture is cited as a telling instance of how the 44 devils of labour laws are killing investments in India.  Interestingly, the full story of the transformation in Maruti after it was fully taken over by the Japanese management has been told by some analysts.  For almost a decade from its start Maruti was held up as an example of good labour relations.  The rot started when the Japanese management took the short cut of getting contract workers to beat the demand of labour for better wages.  After the same management realized the danger of having two differently paid worker groups in the same factory, Maruti has now decided to end the practice of hiring contract labour. Yet another auto factory, Honda, again in Haryana tried similar tactics to get labour at cheaper rates than prevailing in other two wheeler makers.  Disaster struck it in the face.  It was thus a management mistake, rather than trade union militancy. 

Interestingly also all these 44 devils of labour laws have not prevented the Tata Steel in Jamshedpur from functioning all these  100 or so years without a single strike in their factory even as they complied with all the so called “complicated”, “confusing”, laws and the so called inspector raj.  If Tatas can do that with a full scale trade union functioning within the organization, why not others, is a question the labour law reforms lobby has to answer.

There are no set rules for division of proceeds from an enterprise between capital and labour.  There is also substitution of capital with labour and vice versa.  All these depend upon several circumstances, economic, political, global, and financial. Leading economists of the world like Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz now speak of inequality more than return on capital as an important consideration in stabilizing political economy. The argument that it is labour that is preventing new 

investments from coming, and that free market economy will do labour good and therefore it must accept a set of reforms that gives all freedoms to the investor in dealing with labour including hire and fire freedom has been blown sky high by the works of Stiglitz and others.  

Lately a French economist Thomas Piketty has joined this group.  His most recent book “Capital in the 21st Century” has set the sharp eyed cat among the free market pigeons. Stiglitz in his April 2015 book “The Great Divide: Unequal societies and what we can do about them” also has come out with yet another analysis of inequality and how it could really be slowing the American recovery from the recent Great Depression. But it is not merely a question of labour getting a better deal.

Thomas Piketty has virtually demolished the claims of several other economists that free market economy has done wonders for the world around. With data analysis of three centuries in several advanced countries, he has shown that it is knowledge and skills and investment in education, health and housing that have made all the difference.  He has questioned the claims of meritocracy for returns that touch the sky and widen inequalities. The fundamental finding that in the 21st century there is the danger of the rate of return on the capital exceeding the growth of national income and thus increasing the accumulation of capital in fewer hands to the detriment of the democratic process is this economist’s great and shattering contribution against the free marketers.   With the distressing widening of the gap between rate of return on capital and growth of the national economies in most countries returning in the 21st century, Piketty writes:” capitalism automatically generates arbitrary unsustainable inequalities that radically undermine the meritorious values on which democratic societies are based.”  With this question mark hanging over rich economies Piketty says the experience in emerging economies may not be different.  

Two great economists have given Governments that get carried away by free market rhetoric something to chew about before they take the labour law reform plunge.  “The wealth is so concentrated that a large segment of society is virtually unaware of is existence so that some people imagine that it belongs to surreal, mysterious entities.  That is why it is so essential to study capital and its distribution in a methodical, systematic way.”, warns Piketty.

This is not a virus that affects the rich societies alone. In this country it is fashionable to decry trade union excesses—something that we must admit is self-defeating for worker interests.  But were not our great analysts taken for a ride when the market leaders feted and crowned an information technology company promoter for his great entrepreneurial skills?  Just about two years back he was exposed for fudging the corporate books, fooling thousands of Indian and American investors into believing his growth story?  He has now been jailed for massive fraud.  Then there is another entrepreneur who was only a few weeks back exposed for his forward market operations with stocks that were nothing more than figures in his imagination. Piketty is right when he says that “a large segment of society is virtually unaware” of the existence of concentration of wealth in all its ramifications. 

In Ramalinga Raju’s multiple award winning corporation as in many IT companies, as also in Jignesh Shah’s operations there were no trade unions.   Strong trade unions help proper distribution of wealth created by business and industry by forcing even much stronger employers to come to terms on its distribution between labour and capital and by implication between capital and society, including governments. The reforms we need are the ones that make them stronger and the workers more drawn into a triangular partnership between capital, society and labour in creating and distributing wealth. 

मीडिया मालिकों के संगठन सुप्रीम कोर्ट के निर्णय को दुष्प्रचारित कर रहे –

The Supreme Court has dismissed as “redundant” a clutch of contempt petitions filed by some individuals alleging non-implementation of the recommendations of the Wage Boards for journalists and non-journalists by certain media organisations. 

A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice M Y Eqbalpronounced the order last week on 14 contempt petitions filed by various people against the alleged non-implementation of the Majithia Wage Boards, whose recommendations were upheld by the apex court in February last year. 

“Disobedience of court’s order as alleged in these contempt petitions is being looked into in connected matters and an order has been passed by this court dated April 28, 2015 appointing inspectors under section 17 (b) of the Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Condition of Services) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, to make enquiry and submit reports to this court. 

“In the above circumstances and also having regard to the delay that has occurred, we are not inclined to entertain these contempt petitions as we consider the same (to) be redundant,” the court said.

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