Chairman National Wage Boards for Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees, Justice GR Majithia and members of the Wage Boards presented their final Report to PC Chaturvedi, Secretary Ministry of Labour & Employment in New Delhi today.
Speaking to the media after the presentation function, Justice Majithia said that a fine, fair and judicious balance has been achieved between the expectations and aspirations of the employees and the capacity and willingness of the employers to pay.
He further said that the Report has made some suggestions for consideration of the government on issues like post-retirement benefits, a forward looking promotion policy, measures to improve enforcement of the award, need for improving data base of the RNI, etc.
The Report has classified newspaper establishments into eight categories and news agencies into four categories based on gross revenues. Recommended pay scales have been classified into six categories for jobs in each class of establishment. Pay scales have been worked out by adding old basic pay and DA admissible up to June 2010 plus 30 per cent of interim relief. The revised pay would have a component of ‘variable’ pay at the rate of 35 per cent for employees working in first top four classes of establishments and 20 per cent for other four classes of establishments. The ‘variable’ pay will be added in the revised basic pay for calculation of all allowances. Effective date of implementation would be from July 1, 2010.
The monthly emoluments for the lowest category of employee in the lowest class of establishment would work out to be Rs 9,000 for the basic pay at floor level minimum wage of Rs 5,000. The revised basic pay would, however, range from Rs 9,000 to Rs 17,500 for non-journalists and from Rs 13,000 to Rs 25,000 for working journalists in the top establishment having gross revenues of more than Rs 1,000 crore.
As far as social security measures are concerned, possibility of granting paternity leave to male employees, retirement age of 65 years, and exploring pension scheme possibilities have been suggested going beyond the mandated wage structure revision.
The wage board has further recommended night shift allowance, hard ship allowance; transport allowance and House Rent allowance for different class of establishments. It has recommended that a permanent mechanism in the form of a tribunal be set up to adjudicate on complaints regarding non-implementation or circumvention of the award. Also, employers are to ensure that while engaging contractual workers, they must at least offer same salary for the same work, which is performed by the regular employee.
The Ministry of Labour & Employment vide Notifications No. S.O. 809(E) and 810 (E) dated May 24, 2007 as well as Notifications No. S.O. 1066 (E) and 1067(E) dated July 3, 2007 had constituted two separate statutory Wage Boards - one for Working Journalists and another for other Newspaper Employees - in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 9 of the Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 (45 of 1955) under the Chairmanship of Dr Justice K Narayana Kurup, formerly Judge, High Court of Kerala and Acting Chief Justice, High Court of Madras for the purpose of fixing and revising rates of wages in respect of Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees, respectively.
Consequent upon resignation of Dr Justice K Narayana Kurup, the Government of India then appointed Justice GR Majithia as Chairman of Wage boards vide Notification nos. S.O. 580(E) and S.O. 581 (E) dated 28th February, 2009. The Wage Boards are tripartite in character in which representative of workers, employers, independent members participate and finalise the recommendation. The Wage Boards for journalists and non-journalist newspaper and news-agency employees are statutory in nature. The prime responsibility for implementing the recommendations of the Wage Board rests with the concerned State Governments/Union Territories under the provision of the act.