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