With the Supreme Court permitting the Union Cabinet to take a decision on implementing the recommendations of the Justice G.R. Majithia wage board for journalists and non-journalists, Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge has said the subject will soon be placed before the Cabinet.

Talking to The Hindu on the phone from Koppal in Karnataka on Wednesday, Mr. Kharge said he was yet to receive the official communication on the Supreme Court's observations. “But I assure you that once we receive the official communication, there will be no further delay, and the subject will be placed before the Cabinet again and the further process carried out.”

On July 7, the Cabinet discussed the issue and deferred its decision as the matter was in court.

As per report of the Wage Boards – one each for the journalists and other employees of the newspapers/news agencies - the new wage structure will come into force from July 1, 2010, and the managements are required to pay arrears for the period till the increased wages are included in the regular pay of the employees.

Justice Majithia, who had headed the boards and gave his final reports to the labour ministry, without the approval of the management representatives, had noted then that he had only given “justifiable and reasonable hike in wages and other perks of the employees” considering all the aspects – revenue from the advertisement, circulation, annual growth rate, labour cost and financial strength – of the cross section of the media managements. “The new wages were not recommended in excess. I did my job in a very honest and principled way and it is to be kept in mind that no employee could work with empty stomach” he had told The Hindu then.

Justice Majithia had pointed out that the Boards had concluded that the labour cost of the industry (management) ranged from 10 – 14 per cent of the total expenditure cost. The goal of the Wage Boards was to “transform the quality of life and give them (the employees) access to good health, education and economic opportunities,” he said.

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