Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Why newspaper managements are worried after Supreme court upholds Majithia wage board's validity?

Since the Supreme Court has upheld the validity of the Majithia wage board, the owners of the newspapers are worried.

The reason is that they will have to give due salaries to the staff which was denied by them earlier with the connivance of 'Managers'.

The management of most newspapers cleverly forced journalists to take up contract. But once most journalists came on contract, the salaries were not revised.

The basic salary remained the same for years. The reason was that newspaper managements are run by the managers who get salaries in tens of lakhs, even crores.

How can newspapers who sell for Rs 2-5 bear such extravagant salaries? This was managed by the Human Resources (HR) wings of each company, which hired editors at huge salaries. Now the editors were in the bracket of top managers.

As editors were happy getting sky-rocketing raises on their salaries, they became puppets of the management. They turned tough and insensitive towards the rest of the staff. To justify their salaries and keep their own job, editors listened to whatever the management asked them to do.




So a manager who does nothing in sales, gets Rs 5 lakh per month, but a journalist who is the mainstay of the newspaper, gets Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000 or in some papers Rs 25,000-50,000. Some get even less than Rs 10,000 in their companies.

The editor is always ready to sign any order of retrenchment because he or she needs HR's goodwill to continue their job. These changes took place in Indian media industry from late 90s, and at a fast speed after the year 2000.

The nexus of HR managers and editors, hurt journalists badly. Journalism is the lone industry where the person who practices it gets the least salary. Vice-presidents and managers get huge amount of money. To keep this flow, journalists are sacked or their salaries not increased.

The Majithia wage board intends to correct this anomaly. But will the management let it go easily? Only time will tell. There are attempts to find out a way so that the companies don't have to pay the increased salaries to journalists.

Some newspaper organisations are trying to turn their contract employees as 'employees hired through placement agencies' to avoid paying money. Others are trying different ways. Everyone is thinking whether the recommendations will be implemented?

For now, read about the Apex court judgment and other ramifications at the website of Indian Journalist Union. The recommendations are available at this link on the same website.

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