IFJ Condemns Illegal Actions and Bullying of Media Workers in India

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today said that management at theNew Indian Express are using bullying tactics to scare off journalists and media workers who are demanding implementation of the wage award ordered by the Government.

The New Indian Express, according to information received from the All India Newspaper Employees Federation (AINEF), an IFJ affiliate, reportedly declared a lock-out in its Bangalore establishment after workers' demands for the implementation of the lawfully mandated wage structure escalated. The management has since summarily dismissed no fewer than 50 employees, for alleged "indiscipline".

"The management has lost the argument and is now resorting to bullying workers through unlawful dismissals," said Paco Audije, IFJ Deputy General Secretary. "These reprisal measures demonstrate the ruthless pursuit of profit at the expense of workers' rights." 

The workers' union at the New Indian Express believes that this measure is designed to discourage other workers from pursuing their legitimate interests and it has filed a case in a labour court in Bangalore on behalf of the sacked employees.

The IFJ fully supports its affiliate and calls on the Government whose statutory wage award  has for long been stone-walled by the New Indian Expressmanagement - and numerous other newspaper groups in India -- to intervene in this case and ensure that the victimisation of workers is ended and that they are duly reinstated and compensated.

"The Union is right to challenge the newspaper's management over its absurd behaviour," added Audije." The Government must act now to make it clear that attempts to deny workers their rights will not be tolerated." 

The IFJ is concerned that poor working conditions for journalists and media workers in India and the larger South Asian region, are jeopardising the future of media as new talent leaves journalism to seek better paid jobs elsewhere. 

"There is compelling evidence of strong growth of media in India," Audije said. "But, poor pay and unfair treatment are robbing the industry of its best staff." 

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The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide