Media Release: India
April 4, 2013
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses its concern that the Supreme Court of India has decided to defer the hearing on the most recent wage award for journalists and other newspaper employees until July.
On April 2, the Supreme Court bench that began hearing the matter in February expressed its inability to continue since the senior of two judges on the bench is due to retire on April 18. The matter has now been posted for hearing on July 9, before a new bench to the constituted by the Chief Justice of India.
According to the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ), a constituent unit of the IFJ-affiliated Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU), counsel representing the confederation of journalists’ unions at the Supreme Court reportedly argued the case for a quick disposal of the matter, but was unable to win the concurrence of the bench.
The G.R. Majithia Wage Boards for Journalists and Non-Journalists submitted its recommendations on an all-round increase of levels of pay for newspaper workers in December 2010. After due deliberation, India’s Union Cabinet formally approved these recommendations in October 2011.
Newspaper enterprises, both individually and collectively through the Indian Newspaper Society, had meanwhile filed a number of petitions before the country’s highest court, claiming an infringement of their fundamental rights in the statutory wage fixation process. After several procedural difficulties, hearings in this batch of petitions were conducted for two weeks in February this year.
The DUJ reports that the prospect of a further delay in mandating a new deal for journalists and other newspaper employees, coincides with a new phase of enforcing “coercive contracts” by newspaper companies that have so far had a good record of honouring statutory wage awards.
The IFJ joins partners and affiliates in India in this moment of disappointment.
The IFJ urges the Indian government as one part of the tripartite wage bargaining process to show a greater sense of urgency in having the matter heard and disposed of in accordance with established judicial precedents.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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