Blaming the UPA Government at the Centre for pushing media employees to agitation mode, CPI(M) stalwart and Kerala Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan on Tuesday sought intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to notify the proposals of the Wage Boards for news industry immediately.

There was no justification for delaying pay revision for journalists and non-journalists as this was the only sector where the wages had been stagnating for long, Mr. Achuthanandan said.

He was inaugurating a day-long fast organised jointly by the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ)and Kerala Newspaper Employees Federation (KNEF) here.

“It is a rare occurrence that newspaper employees are forced to agitate. As part of their duty, they often highlight the grievances of others. Now they are themselves forced to launch an agitation to press their genuine demand. The Union Government and Prime Minister can no longer ignore their protest without giving in to pressures from those opposing it,” Mr. Achuthanandan said.

RSP All-India general secretary T.J. Chandrachudan said denial of proper wages to employees in the news sector would ultimately undermine the very institution of the ‘fourth estate’ as a supporting pillar of a democracy.

CPI(M) leader and former Kerala Assembly speaker M. Vijayakumar, Congress leader and former minister Pandalam Sudhakaran, Lok Sabha members M.B. Rajesh and A. Sampath, Kerala Press Academy Chairman S.R. Sakthidharan and leaders of various trade unions addressed the fasting members.

Besides KUWJ and KNEF, members of PTI Employees Federation participated in the fast organised at the Martyrs’ Column in the city.

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