Black day marked by protests for sacked Hindustan Times employees: IFJ calls for immediate action

September 19, 2005

Black day marked by protests for sacked Hindustan Times employees: IFJ calls for immediate action

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide is deeply concerned for the plight of more than three hundred Hindustan Times employees who were illegally sacked nearly a year ago.

On October 3, 2004, Hindustan Times management illegally sacked 362 permanent employees.

Last week, on September 14, the situation came to a head when the suicide of a 30-year-old retrenched employee, Mahendra, sparked a massive protest response.

A vigil was held outside the gates of Hindustan Times and the following day saw hundreds of journalists and media workers wearing black badges converge at the site, calling for the immediate reinstatement of the sacked employees.

“It is appalling and deeply saddening that it has come to this. The situation has been allowed to slide into a critical life-and-death struggle for Hindustan Times employees,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren.

“Immediate action must be taken to prevent further deaths adding to this tragedy. If Hindustan Times refuses to take responsibility and fulfill its legal obligations as an employer, the government must intervene on the employees’ behalf,” said the IFJ President.

Hundreds of journalists representing the Indian Journalists Union, All India Newspaper Employees Federation, the Press Club of India and PTI Federation shouted slogans against the management and formed a human chain with the Hindustan Times Employees Union.

Leaders at the protest demanded the immediate reinstatement of the 362 retrenched workers and called for an intensification of the struggle and a united front of fighting unions.

Other leaders representing the Centre of Indian Trade Unions Secretary (CITU) and the All India Bank Employees Association also addressed the rally.

When Hindustan Times first announced the move, it attempted to justify the termination of services on grounds of change in ownership of its printing units to its subsidiary, however, the printing units are still effectively controlled and owned by the Hindustan Times group.

The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) called the day of protest on September 14, Black Day and said it would mark the anniversary of the mass sacking with another day of protest.

For further information or contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries