April 05, 2015

Journalists & Press Workers Call for Unified Action

A JOINT extended meeting of the executive committee of the Press Unity Centre and the Delhi Union of Journalists has resolved through a reorganised structure to move jointly in matters pertaining to the serious situation effecting hundreds of journalists and press workers in Delhi in particular with the widest possible national alliance based on agreed principles and a minimum programme. This it felt was necessary taking into account various management schemes all over the country, which included schemes of getting rid of 50 per cent of the staff and carrot and stick contracts in circulation. The marathon meeting which concluded late on March 31 has blamed both the centre and the state governments of dithering in implementation of the wage board award sanctified by the Supreme Court judgment. It is of the view that the situation has led to a grave crisis for the survival of security of service reducing labour laws like the Working Journalists Act to a farce. The meeting took note of the struggle in various units of Jagran and the multiplying contempt cases pertaining to non-implementation from the Delhi Labour Commissioner’s office to various courts and spreading to Noida and neighbouring areas. The two bodies jointly appealed to the All India Newspaper Employees Federation to join on a minimum programme. It welcomed all efforts of the Confederation of News agencies & Newspaper employees organisations headquarters in Delhi for joint moves and called for an approach of combining collective action with the struggle in the court to save the newspaper industry from a variety of sources, national and international. The meeting chaired by the general secretary DUJ and the president of the Press Unity Centre agreed on a common code of functioning and the broad structure for a 30 person executive comprising an equal number from both the bodies. Joint notices to various newspaper bodies were finalised. It was decided to meet within the next fortnight for announcing a phased united plan. Various plant unions in Delhi have agreed to cooperate. In another statement issued on March 27, 2015, the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) sent its greetings to the session of the All India Newspaper Employees Federation (AINEF) held in the port city of Visakhapatnam. The DUJ expressed its concern at attempts to reduce journalism to coercive, backdated, carrot and stick contracts and other manoeuvres. It called for a concerted battle inside and outside the courts to save journalism and the newspaper industry for tomorrow. The DUJ is of the firm belief that the fight against the contract system and common trade union issues have to be waged together. The DUJ advocates the formation of a national alliance of press workers bodies, journalist bodies and others who believe in common cause. It believes that bodies like the Confederation of Newspapers & News agencies Employees organizations have to be strengthened. Towards this end it called for further strengthening the existing bonds between bodies like the AINEF and journalist bodies who have stood together in the past against management machinations, attempts to totally scuttle the wage board, end the Working Journalists Act etc. On this occasion the DUJ also welcomed the judgment of the Supreme Court striking down Sec. 66A of the IT Act when there are apprehensions of the space for democratic discourse shrinking, with increasing attacks on writers, journalists and other citizens.