Wage Board: Newspapers have to implement award in full, says SC

The Supreme Court has directed that the Majithia Wage Board recommendations on wages for newspaper employees have to be “implemented in toto” and managements could not cite lack of funds for avoiding payments.

It also said in its judgment on Monday that there was no difference between full-time employees and contract workers as far as the implementation of the Majithia Wage Board recommendations are concerned.

A two-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, had on May 3 reserved its judgement in a contempt petion against newspaper groups brought by newspaper employee unions, including the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ).

The court said on Monday that newspapers’ defiance of the earlier court order was not “wilful”.

Earlier, counsel for many newspaper groups had argued that implementing the Wage Board’s recommendations would be beyond their paying capacity. The print media companies have said that any forced implementation would “cripple newspapers’ finances”.

The newspaper unions had, however, argued that newspapers had the capacity to pay but were avoiding to do so.

The Majithia panel was set up by the Congress-led UPA government in 2007 and four years later its recommendations were accepted by the union cabinet. The Gazette notification on this was published on November 11, 2011.

In February 2014, the Supreme Court had upheld the recommendations, directing the newspaper companies to implement the recommendations. (Business Standard)

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