GANGTOK, May 23: The Journalist fraternity of Sikkim have welcomed the constitution of a Wage Board for Working Journalists by the Centre.
Welcoming the announcement, working journalists from Sikkim have expressed their happiness over the Wage Board, saying that it will mean at least a decent salary to them.
Commenting on this development, veteran journalist and President, Press Club of Sikkim, CD Rai said that this was long overdue. Welcoming the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s approval, Mr. Rai said that this will ensure that every working journalist in Sikkim will get equal pay and this will end the great pay disparity prevalent in many media organisations in the State. “The Wage Boards should act quickly so that all working journalists benefit form them,” he said.
Senior journalist, Bijay Bantawa said that Sikkim’s journalists would benefit immensely from this, adding that the Wage Board was long overdue to remove the uneven salary structure adopted by the many publication houses in the State.
Journalists working with smaller newspapers, especially the weekly ones, have also expressed happiness over the possibility of salary at par with those working with bigger daily newspapers.
The Prime Minister, recently approved the constitution of a Wage Board for Working Journalists. Formal orders regarding this will be issued shortly by the Union Labour Ministry.
The Centre Government has appointed K. Narayana Kurup, retired judge of the Kerala High Court, chairperson of the two wages boards for working and non-working journalists, the proposal for which was cleared by the Union Cabinet in December 2006.
They will submit their reports within three years. The former Union Labour Secretary, K.M. Sahni has been appointed member-secretary to operationalise the wage boards, which will have two 10 members each. Besides the chairperson, a full-time member-secretary, two independent members and three members representing employers' organisations will be common to both boards. The boards will start functioning with immediate effect.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has also welcomed the announcement of the establishment of a Wage Board for working journalists and other media workers working for the country’s newspapers saying it is recognition of the “key role decent working conditions play in building quality media.”
“This announcement is good news for unions who have been demanding decent working conditions, and it is welcome recognition of the key role decent work plays in building media quality,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Establishing fair and equitable standards for labour conditions for journalists and non-editorial newspaper staff will give a vital boost to India’s media industry,” he said.
The country’s three major journalists groups – the Indian Journalists’ Union, the National Union of Journalists, India and the All India Newspaper Employees Federation – formed a confederation to demand that the government made good on promises to re-launch the country’s wage board system.