Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling on June 19, 2017 in favour of newspaper and news agency employees in the Majithia Wage Board dispute. In a statement released on June 23, the forum appealed to the concerned media managements to obey the direction.
The journalists’ body argued that the managements must not linger on the implementation of Majithia board award for the benefit of journalists and non-journalist media employees. The forum said that otherwise this would only degrade the print media as an institution slowly slipping down to the group of law- evaders in the country.
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 November 11, 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 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 November 11, 2011.
The Supreme Court upheld the wage board award on February 7, 2014. Lately the apex court dismissed all writ petitions moved by media managements against the award on February 8.
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 by JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria asked the beneficiaries to cooperate with the managements in materializing the apex court’s directives for a better future for the entire institution.