CITU Writes to the Prime Minister against the Termination of employment and nonpayment of wages to Media employees during Lockdown period

The Prime Minister of India
New Delhi

Sub: Termination of employment and nonpayment of wages to Media employees during Lockdown period

Dear Prime Minister Sir,

In your repeated addresses to Nation, you have appealed the entire people to unitedly combat the Corona Pandemic in the country. You have also appealed to also ensure that nobody’s employment is terminated or wage cut is imposed owing to compulsion of lockdown. Accordingly the Union Labour Secretary and Union Home Secretary have issued directive/advisory in the context of invoking of National Disaster Management Act to all concerned not to terminate employment and ensure full payment of wages to all workers including contractual and casual workers vide their communication dated 20th March and 29th March 2020 respectively. But despite that, massive retrenchment has taken place and in many industries wage cut is also taking place. We have drawn attention of the Union Labour Secretary, and Labour Commissioners of different states on all such specific cases of terminations and nonpayment of wages requesting corrective enforceable intervention from their ends. But no result is visible as yet reducing the directives of your Govt ineffective.

Now I draw your attention the incidents of termination of employment and nonpayment of wages in the media sector, both electronic and print, although the media workers including the journalists mostly were on work during the lockdown period to keep the nation informed of all development and also to propagate the messages you sought to give to the nation through your repeated addresses.

As per reports received by us till date…….

Indian Express and Business Standard have asked the staff to accept salary-cuts; Times of India has sacked the entire Sunday Magazine team; News Nation terminated 16 digital-section employees; about half of the Quint contingent has been forced to go on leave without pay; India Today has shortlisted a team of 46 reporters, 6 cameraman and 17 producers for removal from service; ET Panache and Bombay Times are set to merge and in this process 50 per cent of the PNACHE employees are being terminated; Hindustan Times Marathi are removing the entire contingent as it is going to be closed; Urdu paper Nayi Duniya and Evening Star of Mysore and the Outlook Magazine stopped their print publication.

Above situation along with ongoing termination of employment and nonpayment of wages clearly reveals that mere appeal to the employers’ class or official advisories are not enough to address the phenomenon of violating the directive/advisories/appeal relating to the workers by the employers; because lust for profit does not have any conscience. What is required is a strong statutorily enforceable measure to put a ban on all terminations and wage cut and such measure is  actually warranted to address the kind of national disaster the country is facing.

I urge upon you to please intervene so that concrete measures are taken to put the directives/advisories of your own Govt on the above issue for execution. With regards,

Yours sincerely,
(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary

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