The Wage Boards for Working Journalists, Non-Journalists and other newspaper employees submitted their recommendations to the Government on Friday recommending 2.5 to 3 times hike in basic pay and fixing the retirement age at 65.

The revised basic pay has been computed after merging the existing basic pay, the dearness allowance and the 30 per cent interim relief already granted besides 35 per cent variable pay, said Chairman of the Boards Justice G. R. Majithia.

The recommendations have been proposed to be implemented from January 8, 2008.

Taking into account the concept of grade pay introduced in the Sixth Pay Commission, the Boards introduced ’variable pay’ for all employees working in newspaper establishments and news agencies.

Consequently, the Boards proposed a variable pay of 35 per cent. This will be implemented from July 1, 2010.

According to a member of the Wage Boards, the basic pay at the entry level could be anywhere around Rs. 9,000 while the basic pay drawn at the senior level could be around Rs. 25,000 in a category 1 media house.

“We have also proposed the establishment of a permanent tribunal to redress grievances between employers and employees,” the Chairman said after presenting the recommendations to Labour and Employment Secretary Prabhat Chaturvedi.

The recommendations would be examined by the Ministry before it is tabled before the Union Cabinet for approval, the Secretary said.

The Boards have also recommended that dearness allowance shall be paid bi-annually with effect from July 1 and January 1 every year.

The Boards have also recommended revision of other allowances such as house rent allowance, transport allowance, night shift allowance etc, the Chairman said.

It has been recommended that house rent allowance shall be paid at the rate of 30 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent of the basic pay to employees posted in areas defined as area X, Y and Z respectively.

Similarly, transport allowance at the rate of 20 per cent, 10 per cent and five per cent shall be paid by newspaper establishments to its employees posted in respective areas defined as X, Y and Z respectively.

The hardship allowance has been recommended at Rs. 1000 for employees working in hilly areas.

Employees working in newspaper establishment of classes I and II and classes III and IV shall be paid medical allowance at the rate of Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 per month per employee respectively.

But no medical allowance shall be paid to employees who are covered by Employees State Insurance Corporation.

News agencies with revenue of over Rs. 60 crore have been put in the same place as top rung newspapers following the Boards reclassifications of newspapers and news agencies.

Consequently, PTI has been put at the top place and UNI at the second spot.

The Boards were constituted three years back for the purpose of fixing or revising rates of wages in respect of working journalists and non—journalists and other newspaper employees.

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