Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) welcomes the Supreme Court’s ruling on 19 June 2017 in favour of newspaper & news agency employees in the Majithia Wage Board dispute and the forum fervently appeals to the concerned media managements to obey the direction. The scribe’s body argues that the managements must not linger on the implementation of Majithia board award for the benefit of journalists & non-journalist media employees for more years. Otherwise, it would only degrade the print media as an institution slowly slipping down to the group of law- evaders in the country, it added.
It may be noted that the apex court’s vacation bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha passed the order directing the newspaper owners to pay their employees according to the wages as revised/determined by the Majithia board since 11 November 2011 without differentiating between the permanent (full-time) and contractual employees in their establishments. Directing the media house owners to implement the Majithia board award in full without citing the reason of fund crisis, the bench observed that it would be another opportunity for honouring the award in its proper spirit.
The Majithia Wage Board was constituted by the Union labour ministry in 2007 despite oppositions from most of the newspaper houses in the country. The Union cabinet accepted the recommendations of the wage board four years back and the Gazette notification was published on 11 November 2011. The Supreme Court upheld the wage board award on 7 February 2014. Lately the apex court dismissed all writ petitions moved by media managements against the award on 8 February last. The JFA statement asserted that if most of the newspaper managements in India continue ignoring the apex court directive, it would only bring wrong messages to the readers (mass) about the medium. In this case, the forum opined that the media house owners may follow the example set by the Assam Tribune group, which implemented the Majithia board recommendations for the first time in the country.
Finally, the statement issued JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria asked the beneficiaries too to cooperate with the managements in materializing the apex court’s directives for a better future for the entire institution.