Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) appreciated the management of Niyomiya Barta (www.niyomiyabarta.org) for announcing Majithia wage board benefits to its employees including journalists. The media forum welcomed the development as the newly launched Assamese daily emerged as the second newspaper to honour the verdict of the Supreme Court in northeast India.
It may be noted that 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.
Later the Supreme Court upheld the wage board award on 7 February 2014 and it dismissed all writ petitions moved by media managements against the award on 8 February last. The apex court in a recent ruling on 19 June 2017 ordered the newspaper owners of the country to pay their employees according to the wages as revised/determined by the Majithia board since 11 November 2011. The vacation bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha passed the verdict directing the proprietors of newspapers & news agencies to implement the statutory board award in full without citing the reason of fund crisis and with no differentiating between the permanent (full-time) and contractual employees in their establishments.
The Assam Tribune group implemented the wage board award immediately after the Gazette notification and became the first media house in the country to take the initiative for the benefit of its employees. The JFA, in a statement issued by its president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria fervently appealed to all concerned media managements to obey the court direction without delaying it for any unfounded reason.
“The concerned managements must not linger on the implementation of Majithia board award for more years as it would only carry wrong messages to the readers (mass) about the medium. Moreover it would degrade the print media as law-evading institutions in the country,” added the statement.
Finally, the scribe’s forum asked the beneficiaries also to cooperate with the managements in materializing the apex court’s directives not only for their personal benefits, but also for a better future of the institution in the largest democracy of the globe.