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The Big Picture – Journalists Wage Board: When will see light?

The Big Picture – Journalists Wage Board: When will see light?

Summary:

One section of society, which fights for everyone’s cause, has always found itself helpless when it

comes to its own cause and those are the journalists. The Indian print media, which is dependent on

the periodic recommendations of the wage boards for increase in their salaries and perks, has been

waiting now for 8 years now. The last wage board was setup in 2007 and the final report was

submitted in 2010. The then government took almost one year to approve the recommendations.

However these decisions were challenged in the Supreme Court and the issue got struck for another

3 years. In 2014 the Supreme Court upheld the validity of Majithia wage board recommendations

and directed the News Paper agencies and management to pay wages as per its recommendations.

However, not many agencies are following these rules and some management have even stalled

payments.

Under the Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and

Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955, the government has the power to form wage boards to review

and revise salaries of journalists and non-journalists. The constitution of a wage board, according to

the Act, has to adhere to the following rules:

 Three persons representing employers in relation to Newspaper Establishments.

 Three persons representing working journalists for Wage Board under Section 9 and three

persons representing non- journalist Newspaper Employees for Wage Board under Section

13C of the Act.

 Four independent persons, one of whom shall be a person who is, or has been a Judge of the

High Court or the Supreme Court, and who shall be appointed by the Government as the

Chairman thereof.

Prior to the Majithia Wage Board, six Wage Boards had been constituted for working journalists and

four Wage Boards for non-journalist newspaper employees. The Majithia Wage Board – which based

its recommendations on the 6th Pay Commission – submitted an extensive report. It categorised

newspapers into eight categories according to their revenues and suggested seven groupings of

employees according to designation and seniority. Similarly, the board divided news agencies into

four sets on the basis of their annual revenues.