Govt. of Rajasthan has yesterday filed ‘Action Taken Report’ on the implementation of the Majithia Wage Board Award in the Supreme Court. The State Government had earlier filed a status report, which contained the appointment of the Labour Inspectors and the submissions of employers and employees. In this report the State Government has informed that notices were issued to 893 newspaper establishments out of it 298 were daily newspapers, 220 weekly newspapers, 358 fortnightly newspapers and 17 monthly newspapers. As a matter of fact, this humongous exercise of the Public Relations Department has created more confusion than clarity with regard to the implementation by the newspaper owners and steps taken by the State Government to accelerate the implementation process.
Needless to state, that the major grievance has been mainly against two top newspapers of the state like, Rajasthan Patrika and Dainik Bhaskar. Their owners are the main culprits, who have been circumventing the implementation of the Award with every fair and foul means. These two newspapers have used every weapon in their armory to deny and deprive the wages and allowances to their employees. Employees have been threatened, oppressed, intimidated, harassed, victimized and illegally terminated for demanding the Majithia Award. The ‘Welfare State’ should have thrown its full weight behind the employees to bring the recalcitrant managements to kneels to get the Award implemented but nothing of the sort has been done. The State Government is content with simply initiating prosecution of the employers on the complaint of the employees, which is time consuming process. This process ultimately favours employers than employees, who do not have the capacity to sustain for long. Why, at all, the notices were issued to such a large number of establishments, is beyond any body’s comprehension.
The Action Taken Report also tells that the cases of 250 employees of Dainik Bhaskar have been referred to the Labour Court for the adjudication; out of it 34 employees have been already terminated from its Jaipur unit itself. Scores of employees from other units of the newspaper have also been terminated or transferred but there is no mention of it in the Action Taken Report. Similarly, the cases of 190 employees of Rajasthan Patrika’s Jaipur unit have been referred to the Labour Court for adjudication. The report is silent about the pathetic condition of its employees at other publication centres.
In all, the ‘Action Taken Report’ has hardly revealed any action taken by the Government to ensure the implementation of the Award. The implementation is the responsibility of the State Government and, in all fairness; the minimum the Government could have done was to stop the advertisements of all such newspapers, which have failed to comply with the notification of the Award, upheld by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. Thus, in a way, the action of the government does not cover itself with any glory but it is also as dark and disappointing as those of the oppressive action of the newspaper proprietors.