Confederation of Newspaper and News Agency Employees Organisation, of which the Indian Federation of Working Journalists in its meeting held on 28th May between 10.00 am to 7.00 pm in the Kautilya Hall of Hotel Samrat of New Delhi, has decided to hold a demonstration in New Delhi during the Monsoon session of Parliament for not repealing the Working Journalist Act and subsuming it with Labour Codes. These are the Code on Wages, the Industrial Relations Code, the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, and the Code on Social Security In the new code of Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions, the definition of working journalists has certainly been expanded. Those working for the print, electronic and web portals have also been brought into the ambit of Working Journalists. But other facilities like exclusive Wage Boards for newspaper and news agency employees have been abolished. Wage revision will be decided as per the Code on wages and therefore the media employees gave also been bracketed with millions of workers across the country. That is why there is an urgent need to agitate for the restoration of the Working Journalist Act and the expansion of its scope by bringing media employees of all genres within its ambit.
This meeting was attended by the IFWJ President B V Mallikarjunaih, Vice President Kesab Kalita, Vice President Narasimha Peddapuram, Secretary Chandrashekharam and Santosh Gupta, Assam Unit President Tutomani Phukan, Secretary Mukutraj Sharma, DUWJ AS Negi, Secretary Gita Rawat National Council members Venkatmuni Pachcha, Harish Rai Mangalore, Basavartrai Gowda Yedgir and Vijay Verma etc, among others. More than seventy representatives from other Federations/organisations also participated in the meeting. The grand meeting was organised by the PTI Federation and its leader Shri MS Yadav played a laudable role.
Concern over non-implementation of the Majithia Wage Award:
Concerns and anger were visible on the faces of leaders of all organisations over the implementation of the Majithia Award. Thousands of cases of the Majithia Award are pending in different courts of the country. Thousands have been dismissed or harassed in all conceivable manners. Although the Supreme Court had said that cases regarding recovery will be decided by the governments and in the shortest possible time, it is hanging fire for more than a decade. The owners are taking advantage of the slow judicial system.
The victory of Jagran Employees
In the meantime, good news has come for Jagran employees of NOIDA as the Allahabad High Court has seen through the gimmick of the wanted to deny the Majithia Award to employees under the cover of 20J o the Award. The High Court observed: ‘The argument of the counsel for the petitioner in the light of the provisions of Clause 20(J), if accepted, would render the entire Act inapplicable and if the said argument is accepted, the same would be in clear violation of the mandate of Section 12, 13, 13-C, 13-D and Section 16 of the Act. In the present case, the grievances raised under Section 17 by the employees could be referred for adjudication under Section 17(2) only in respect of disputes of the quantum of benefits as prescribed by the wage board. The defence of the petitioner that the undertaking given by the employees would override the recommendations of the wage board could be entertained only if it could be demonstrated prima facie that the ‘wages and emoluments’ (alone) being paid in terms of the undertaking, to the employees, were more than the one prescribed and payable under the notified recommendations of the wage board. No such defence appears to be taken by the Petitioners. It is further inconceivable as to why the employee would agitate for wages and emoluments by instituting proceedings under Section 17 if he was getting more amounts than what was prescribed by the wage board, it is equally inconceivable as to why any newspaper establishment would contest such proceedings if they felt that the wages and emoluments paid to an employee under an agreement are more than the recommendations of the board.’
Boost for DB Corps (Dainik Bhaskar, Divya Bhaskar) Employees
Employees of Dainik Bhaskar have got a shot in the arm from the Labour Court in Delhi, which awarded those employees be paid wages as per Mjithia Award from 11.11.2011 and they are also entitled to get 30 per cent Interim Relief from August 2008 till notification of the Award. The IFWJ and DUWJ particularly its office holders Vivek Tyagi, A S Negi, Rajesh Niranjan and Ashok Sharma led the struggle of the employees from the front.
Clarification of G Bhupathy
Com. G Bhupathy has clarified that some bogus organisation has been using his name as its Secretary General, but he has no connection with that practically non-existent organisation. He is with the Confederation of Newspaper and News Agency Employees Organisation heart and soul. He said that he would always work for the unity, struggle and strength of employees through Confederation. Representatives of all the constituent units welcomed the clarification of G Bhupathy.
Secretary- General: IFWJ