Executive Committee meeting
Kurukshetra, Haryana (India)
October 6-7, 2001
This meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Indian Journalists Union (IJU)takes a serious view of the anti-worker policies the Union Government is planning to thrust on the people of the country in the name of introducing the so-called second-generation economic reforms and containing its fiscal deficit. The Government's real intention behind these moves, in fact, is to take advantage of the economic crisis created by its policies to give the employers a blank cheque to hire and fire the workers and exploit the large-scale employments in the country to pay them the least possible wages and enforce whatever terms and conditions of service they wish to do. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's announcement to initiate the process of "labour reforms" is a challenge to the country's trade unions they can ignore only at their peril. For the amendments the Government proposes to make in the labour laws, including the Industrial Disputes Act, will rob the working class of all the gains they have won at great cost and after making great sacrifices during the past half century and more. The "reforms" are intended to set at naught the workers' right to job security and the unions' right to collective bargaining of working and service conditions. They are also intended to do away with the practice of judicious fixation and revision of wage structures in various industries through wage boards and replace the present wage structures by the obnoxious contract system our union has been seeking the abolition of. These changes are sought to be made in the name of introducing a global practices to provide the employers ideal conditions to "improve the productivity" of both labour and capital. One wishes the Government had introduced the same levels of social security as well. What the Government does not seem to realise is that the unemployed in the US and the UK, whose labour laws the Government wants to emulate, get a higher feel of "doles" than the workers in this country get as minimum wages after working for eight hours a day. It is absurd to talk of global levels in service terms of the labour without accepting the same levels of social security. There is talk also of downsizing government, even while maintaining an army of ministers, by reducing the strength of government staff by as many as five lakh employees. The Government, of course, proposes to do so through a VRS, but this would reduce the level of employment in the country, whose unemployment is already very high. This meeting of the national Executive Committee of the IJU expresses its full determination to fight all these attacks resolutely. It also calls upon all affiliated unions of IJU, to make a struggle against these attacks associating with other central trade unions as a common cause and draw up a bold programme of action to resist and fight these. The IJU assures all central trade unions of its unstinted support and cooperation in facing these attacks and resisting all such attempts to rob the working class of it hard-won gains. It also calls upon all State unions and working journalists to do their best to build public opinion against these government plans and to prepare for the hard struggle ahead.
This meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) takes a serious view of the growing tendency among various sections of the society, including law-enforcing agencies in particular, to make violent attacks o working journalists with a view to interfering with their duties. The recent incidents of such violence in Tamil Nadu and some other States is a case in point. The journalists in troubled and terrorist-infested areas of jammu and Kashmir, the Northeast, etc. have already been suffering heavily at the hands of the anti-socials but now the police forces in even 'normal' States have begun to behave in a lawless manner. The IJU calls upon the various Governments, both at the Centre and in the States as also the various political parties to take a serious view of the matter and initiate urgent steps to ensure an end to such tendencies among the security forces. They are also called upon to introduce adequate relief and compensation provisions for the journalists who fall victim to attacks by terrorists and anti-socials in the various States.
This meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Indian Journalists Union views wit h deep concern the non-implementation of the awards of the Manisana Wage Boards by a large number of newspaper establishments in the country. It regrets to note that although these awards are statutory and were notified as far back as December last year, neither the Union nor the State Governments have cared to take any effective action to prevail upon newspaper managements to implement these. Repeated appeals by the IJU for firm action in the matter have fallen on deaf ears. In view of the bitter experience of the journalists committee about the fate of earlier wage awards, the IJU has been pressing from day one for the formation of ttripartite committees with adequate powers to oversee and monitor the implementation of the awards, but to no avail. Neither the Union nor any State Government paid any heed to our repeated appeals to set up these countries committees. This meeting of the NEC of the IJU, therefore, once again calls upon the Union Labour Minister to take personal initiative in the matter and initiate effective steps to get the wage awards implemented. It also calls upon the Union and State governments to set up effective tripartite committees to oversee and monitor this implementation. The apathetic attitude of the Governments to the implementation of these awards has left no alternative with newspaper employees, including journalists, except to prepare to prepare for agitative action to secure their implementation. The entire responsibility for any disruption such agitation may cause to industrial peace and harmony will rest entirely with newspaper managements and State Governments.