wage board for jounalists in pakistan
The wage board
Basically it is a committee / board that is formed by the government of Pakistan for the purpose of fixing the rates of wages for journalists in the country. The board is constituted after each five years. Up till now seven boards have been formed.
When Pakistan came into being there was no law for the salaries of journalists so at that time the government formed a press commission in 1954 to look after the working conditions and the wages which were being paid to the journalists at that time. The commission gave its decision in which it was stated that the government should constitute the wage board, which will decide the pays of journalists.
In order to give recommendation to the report of the commission the government promulgated an ordinance that is called “working journalists (condition of service) ordinance 1960”.
And then the government of Pakistan formed the first wage board in 1960.
The board consists of a chairman who is or has been eligible for the judge of High court and the members no matter how many are selected by the government. The members of the board are the owners and employers of the newspapers, they are equal in quantity.
The decision of the board is binding on all newspaper owners that they wold pay the journalists according to the decision of the board. According to the ordinance the board was supposed to decide the pays of only working journalists not for all of the employees of newspapers organization.
Later on in 1973 the government of Pakistan promulgated an Act that is called the “newspaper employees (condition of service) Act 1973” now according to the Act the board is supposed to decide the pays of working journalists as well as the employees. After taking the decision of the Act the newspaper owners opposed it. And said that they could not afford to pay according to the decision of the wage board.
Realizing the fact that inflation is going on in the country and it is very difficult to manage the expenditure of the family doing job on contract basis in a newspaper office getting such a low salary. The owners of the newspapers should think in this regard.
The seventh wage award was given in 2001 but up till now it has not been implemented by the owners of the newspapers.
?The wage board?
Basically, it is a board /committee that is constituted by the government for the purpose of fixing the rates of wages for newspapers employees.
When Pakistan came into being there was no law for the wages of journalists in the country. They would have been paid according to the will and whishes of newspaper owners. Hence, the working journalists raised the injustices in the constituent Assembly of Pakistan through the following resolution tabled in November 1953.
? The Assembly is of the opinion that the government of Pakistan
should appoint a committee to investigate the conditions of the
national press of Pakistan with particular reference to the working
conditions of the journalists and report to the government.?
(Karachi union of journalists)
After passing of the above resolution the government of Pakistan constituted a ?press commission? with various terms of reference including recommendation in the rates of pay and working conditions of journalists.
PRESS COMMISSION (1954)
In September 1954,the government set up a press commission, which was later on in 1958 reconstituted. The commission was supposed to give recommendations concerning the working conditions and salaries of the working journalists. One of the terms of reference of the commission was:
? To examine and make recommendation on the rates of pay and
working conditions of the journalists.?
(The gazette of Pakistan, extraordinary, October 25,2001.)
Mr. Justice Khurshid Zaman Lately a judge of the high court of judicature, Lahore, headed the commission. Hameed Nizami. Altaf Hussain, Z.A. Suleri and M.A.Zuberi were among the eleven other members of the commission
Reconstitution of press commission:
The All Pakistan Newspaper Editors Conference (APNEC) and Council of Pakistan Editors are the two rival bodies of newspaper Editors. Due to the professional and organizational rivalries of the two bodies the press commission could not function smoothly and this resulted in reconstitution of the press commission on September 5, 1958.the reconstituted press commission was headed by Mr. H.B Tyabji. The Ex-chief judge of the High Court of Sindh, Karachi.
Report / recommendation of the commission:
In march 1959 the commission gave its detailed report / recommendations to the government and said that a law should be made to regulate the condition of service of working journalists and a Wage board should be constituted which would fix the rates of wages of the working journalists. Now it must be kept in mind that the wage board at that time would fix the pay only for working journalists not for all the employees of the newspapers organizations. The commission highlighted various problems facing the newspaper industry in general and working journalists in particular.
WORKING JOURNALISTS (CONDITION OF SERVICE )ORDINANCE 1960:
The government of Pakistan passed an ordinance on 26th April 1960 in order to give recognition to the recommendations of the commission .In this ordinance, it was stated that all the working journalists would be given wages according to the Wage Board decision. And also the working conditions of working journalists were defined. According to the ordinance the Wage Board will fix the rates of wages only for working journalists not for all the employees of the newspaper organizations. Under section 8 of the ordinance the central government on May 30th 1960 constituted the first wage board.
THE FIRST WAGE BOARD 1960:
The government of Pakistan constituted the first Wage Board on 30th May 1960.Mr justice Sajjad Ahmed Jan was appointed its chairman .He, at that time, was the judge of the High Court of the West Pakistan. In this board wages were fixed for the working journalists only. And every newspaper organization was supposed to give wages according to the rates fixed by the Board .The said term ?working journalists? means a person who is a whole time journalist and is employed as such in or in relation to any newspaper establishment .It include an Editor, Copy Writer, News Editor, Sub Editor Feature Writer, Reporter, Correspondent, Copy Pester, Cartoonist, News Photographic, Calligraphist, and Proof Rader but does not include any such person who:
1. Is employed mainly in a managerial or administrative capacity. Or
2. Being employed in a supervisory capacity performs; either by the nature of the duties attached to his office or by reason of the powers vested in him functions mainly of managerial nature.
(The gazette of Pakistan, extraordinary, October 25,2001.)
The board gave its decision on 31st Decemer, 1960 which was made operative from 1st January 1961. It was stated that the decision of the board would be subject to review and revise after five years from the date of its enforcement by an authority that might be set up by the federal government.
The first wage board announced that in addition to basic salaries, all employees would be given the following benefits.
? Dearness allowance.
? Conveyance allowance.
? Night shift transport allowance.
? Outfit allowance. (This is given once a year)
? Wages for over time.
? Wages for piecework.
? Apprenticeship allowance (regional papers)
? Legal expenses (regional papers)
? Medical relief (regional papers)
? Gratuity (regional papers)
MEMBERS OF THE BOARD:
The Board consists of a chairman, appointed by the federal government, who has been or is qualified to a judge of a high court and as many members to advise the chairman as may be appointed by the federal government. So, however that one half of the members represent the newspapers employees and the other half the employers in relation to newspaper establishment.
The federal government may, whenever it so considers necessary, by notification in the official gazette constitute it. However it is constituted after each five years.
DECISION OF THE BOARD
The Board gives its decision within a period of one hundred and eighty days from the day of its constitution. Whenever Board is constituted, its meetings are held in all provinces of the country. In which representatives of newspapers employees and employers express their point of view. Then the chairman takes the decision and announces the award.
? The decision of the Board shall be binding on all Employers in relation to newspaper establishments. And every newspaper employee shall be entitled to be paid wages at a rate which shall, in no case, be less than the rate of wages fixed by the Board.?
(The journal of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists PFUJ)
THE SECOND WAGE BOARD:
When the first wage board was formed in 1960, at that time it was decided that the government would form the board after each five years. Hence, the second wage board 0was due in 1965. But it was constituted after nine years of the first wage board on April 25th, 1969 instead of 1965.the second wage board had eight members, four represented working journalists and equal number represented newspaper employers. Mr. Justice Sajjad Ahmed Jan was nominated its chairman.
Later, in October 1969 Mr. Justice Sajjad Ahmed Jan resigned and was succeeded by Mr. Justice A.S Farooqi .He was a learned judge of the West Pakistan High Court. He allowed Interim Relief on 10th December 1969, which was confined to metropolitan newspapers because the required information in respect of regional newspapers was not made available to him. The learned judge maintained the classification of metropolitan as ?A? and ?B? categories while granting the Interim relief. He decided that all the newspapers which are located in metropolitan centers and they are having an annual revenue of 25 laces or more would be considered as belonging to metropolitan ?A? while other newspapers having annual revenue of lass than 25 laces would be considered belonging to metropolitan ?B? category.
On 1st April 1970 Mr. Justice A.S Farooqi resigned and in his place Mr. Justice (retd) S.M Shafi was appointed as a chairman of the board on 5trh of March 1971.
In addition to basic salaries, all employees would be given the following benefits.
? Cost of living allowance.
? Dearness allowance.
? General transport allowance.
? Grant on transfer.
? Night transport allowance.
? Local traveling allowance.
? Outfit allowance.
The board announces interim rates of wages before taking the decision of wage award, which remains in force until the decision of the board comes into operation. The interim rates that are fixed by the board shall be binding on all employers of newspapers.
According to the interim relief every employee of the newspapers shall be paid wages at the rate, which shall in no case, be less than the interim rates of wages fixed under subsection.
In 1969, Mr. Justice A.S. Faroqi allowed interim relief, which was rejected by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ). The reason behind the rejection was that the interim relief was just for the working journalists not for all of the employees of newspapers organizations. The (PFUJ) demanded that the interim relief should be given to the entire newspaper employees not only to working journalists.
Newspaper employees (condition of service) act 1973:
The newspaper employees (condition of service) Act 1973 replaced the working journalists (condition of service) ordinance 1960, which was just for the working journalists not for the entire employees of newspapers organizations. Before the promulgation of the Act the working conditions of the employees were nothing short of forced labour. When the Act was promulgated it extended its benefits to all the employees of the newspapers. According to the Act the definition of the newspaper employees is:
?A whole time journalist including an Editor, Leader Writer, News Editor, Feature Write, Reporter, Correspondent, Copy-Pester, Cartoonist, News Photographer, Calligraphists and Brief Readers II and a whole time Non-journalists including a Manager, Clerk, Steno Typist, Printing Engineer, Leno- type Operator, Composer, Type Setter, Photo Studio Attendant, Training Workers, an Accountant and an Office Peon.?
(The gazette of Pakistan, extraordinary, October 25,2001.)
The Act was promulgated because of the sustained struggle of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and All Pakistan Newspaper Employees Confederation (APNEC), the two apex bodies those are representing the working and non-working journalists. But the newspaper owners opposed the Act as according to them wage board should not be constituted under the Act because they could not afford to pay all the employees according to the decision of the wage board.
Reconstitution of the second wage board:
On 11th September 1973 the government of Pakistan reconstituted the second wage board. Mr. Justice (retd) S.M.Shafi was appointed as a chairman of the board. The board had four members. Two members represented the owners while two represented the employees of the newspapers. The board announced its decision on 8th of June 1974 and fixed new pay scale for the employees.
fixation of the wages:
In fixing rates of wages in respect of newspaper employees, the board may take into consideration.
1- The cost of living.
2- The prevalent rates of wages of comparable employments.
3- The circumstances relating to the newspaper industry in different regions of the
4- and any other circumstances, which to the board may seem relevant.
The Board may fix rates of wages for timework and for piecework. The decision of the Board in fixing rates of wages shall be communicated as soon as practicable to the federal government.
(The journal of PFUJ)
the third wage board:
The third wage board was constituted on 24th January 1979. Mr. Justice (Retd) Muhammad Munir Faruqee was appointed as a chairman of the board. The board had eight members out of which four were representing the employers (owners) and four were representing the employees. The board was reconstituted in June 1979.it announced its interim relief on august 5th 1979. The board announced its final decision in May 1980. The decision was made effective and also it allowed the scheme of categorization of establishment and gradation of employees, which still exists.
The third wage board announced that in addition to basic salaries, all employees would be given the following benefits.
? General transport allowance.
? Local traveling allowance.
? Outfit allowance.
? Hill allowance (for the employees posted to Quetta)
? House rent allowance.
? Besides this all benefits, which were given in the first and second wage decision and not covered under this decision shall continue to be enjoyed by the newspaper employees.
fourth wage board:
The Federal Government Constituted fourth Wage Board on 4th October 1984. Mr. justice Mian Fazle Mehmood of Lahore High Court was appointed its chairman the Board had 12 members a six of them represented the employers while the other six were the representatives of the employees. On10th of January 1985 the Board gave its Interim Relief. The final decision was given on 28th of September 1985 the decision was notified in the gazette on 16th October 1985 it was made operative from 15th April 1985.
Fringe benefits were almost the same as given in the previous wage boards decisions. Besides this, Study and Research Allowance was given to the newspaper employees.
FIFTH WAGE BOARD
On 20th July 1989 Fifth Wage Board was set up which was reconstituted on 20th December 1989 Mr. justice (Retd) Agha Ali Hyder was appointed its chairman and 14 member equally drawn from amongst the employers and the employees were included in the wage board the Board granted Interim Relief vides its order dated 8th February 1990 the final decision was given on 18th December 1990 which was notified in the gaze6tte of Pakistan extra ordinary dated 13th of January 1991 it was made operative from 15th of April 1990.
According to the fifth wage board the fringe benefits were almost the same as announced in the previous boards decision but their rates were increased.
The All Pakistan newspaper society (APNS) and some of its members challenged the Interim Award in the Supreme Court by a constitutional petition. However, in the Pendency of the petition the final decision was given on 18th of December 1990 which was notified in the gazette of Pakistan extra ordinary dated 13th of January 1991 it was made operative from15th of April 1990 .The APNS filed an amended petition to cover the final award but the court rendered the earlier petition as in fructuous and dismissed the amended petition by a full bench of five judges on December 14 1993 the court however stated that the petitioners may challenge the final award before a court of competent jurisdiction as provided by law the APNS did not file any petition against the final award of 5th wage board.
SIXTH WAGE BOARD
On 23rd October 1994 Sixth Wage Board came into existence with Mr. justice Zia Mehmood Mirza a learned judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan as its chairman the Board consisted of 18 members 9 each from the employers and the employees the final decision was announced by the chairman on 23rd October 1994.
In addition to the basic pay and other benefits, the sixth wage board announced computer allowance for the employees who were working as a computer staff.
SEVENTH WAGE BOARD
On 8th July 2000 Government of Pakistan constitutive the 7th wage board under the newspaper employees (condition of service) Act 1973 for the purpose of fixing the rates of wages of the newspaper employees. The wage board composing of 10 member five each representing the employers and employees and the chairman Mr. justice Raja Afrasiab Khan (Retd) judge of the Supreme Count of Pakistan pronounced its award published by the government of Pakistan dated 25th October 2001. The mandate of the Wage Board regarding revision of wages of newspaper employees encompasses four major parameters as contained in newspaper employees (conditions of service) Act 1973.
a. The cost of living.
b. The prevalent riles of wages for comparable employment.
c. The circumstances relating to the newspaper industry in different regions of the country.
d. Any other circumstances which to the board may seem relevant.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 7th WAGE BOARD
The newspapers owners have failed to implement Pakistan?s seventh wage Board decision which was handed down on 8th October, 2001. This mean that newspapers employees are still receiving the wages that were fixed by the sixth wage Board decision handed down some 12 years ago.
?It is time journalists in Pakistan received fair wages for their work and we are again calling on this immediate implementation of the seventh wage Board decision for journalists?, says the IFJ.
According to information received from our affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of journalists (PFUJ), newspaper owners across the country have failed to implement a 5 years old wage decision, while some, implemented the 6th wage board decision, despite repeated calls from the National Assembly, provincial Assemblies and the (PFUJ) to do so. This has resulted in media workers not having received a wage increase in over 10 years.
?The Pakistani newspapers publishers and owners are openly flouting the law and this is totally unacceptable? said the joint letter from the journalists groups to the government of Pakistan and the newspaper publishers.
?Journalists need the decent wages: not only to feed their families about the practice of professional and quality journalism.
The newspaper and news organization owner as usual refused to implement the 7th wage Board award and later challenged it before the supreme court of Pakistan claiming that the Award would ruin their organizations financially. However, after almost two years they lost their case and the court gave its decision in favor of the newspapers employees.
The owners, who have become almost a mafia in this country and consider it their right to flout the laws, even refused to accept the supreme court order the government, on the other hand, is also reluctant to get the supreme court decision implemented.
The newspapers? owners are reluctant in implementing the seventh wage board award despite the fact that the court has dismissed their case once again. Almost five years have passed and there is no progress on the ground realities. The government role in this regard is pathetic too. The government and the judiciary have almost failed to establish the supremacy of the law.
In short, seven wage awards have been announced so far by various boards but only a handful of people could receive the fruits of these awards as the owners of the print media barring a few honorable exceptions, are flagrantly violating mandatory provisions of the newspaper employees (conditions of service) Act 1973.
IMPLEMENTATION TRIBUNAL OF NEWSPAPERS EMPLOYEES (ITNE)
The Implementation Tribunal, which is meant for implementing the awards, is totally proved ineffective. Mr. Dilawar Mehmood, chairman implementation Tribunal, was of the opinion that unless the Tribunal gets more power from the government it could not work efficiently. For this purpose an amendment in the Newspaper Employees (conditions of service) Act 1973 was moved to the Ministry of Lahore of Labor by the chairman of Tribunal. But the Ministry concerned is still silent in this regard.
The newspaper employees irrespective of their designations are working in a state of tyranny by the hands of the champions of the humanity who, in their own newspapers, preach every citizen of the country to be ideal.
The witnesses appeared before the Board narrated horrible sorties of the worst kind of exploitation. For Example, masters degree holders working in those organizations as journalists have been paid very low wages, and they are not even given appointment letters so that the newspaper managements could veal fringes benefits granted by the Act and other relevant laws the working conditions show that majority of the newspaper employees are working in a condition similar to that of the early fifties as revealed by the press commission report.
APNS POINT OF VIEW:
The 7th wage Board award has not yet been implemented because the newspapers organization cannot afford to pay all the employees according to the wage Board decision. According to APNS the Newspapers Employees (Conditions of service) Act 1973 is a disaster for Newspaper because it increased the scope from just journalists to all employees. This meant that the sweepers, drivers, ink men, accountants, business managers, dustmen, apprentices would now get wages and benefit structures considerably in excess of the going market rate it protected all bilateral concessions made to the union prior to the wage Boards and allowed the unions to continue their activates despite the setting up of the wage Board. The result being that newspapers management now had to fight the government every five years and its own union every year because they were not in a position to give more than what the wage Board had awarded.
Newspaper employees now had more than one compensation system
(1) The wage Board determining the minimum wage
(2) Special increments, determining extra payments
(3) Benefits bilaterally negotiated and protected by agreements with their respective CBAs (unions)
(4) Benefits like gratuity and medical granted by the Wage Board which have to be paid compulsorily under the terms and conditions imposed by the Act.
Therefore, it is irrational. According to the Act wages can also be any form of compensation the judge deems to call wage. The discretionary power of the judge is such that he can term as ?Wage? any form of compensation like research allowance and Hajj the notion of a minimum wage has now been replaced by luxury wage.
Although the act mentions comparable wages it does not acknowledge the fact that under the Act, sweepers and peons are getting the same salaries as Deputy Commissioners. The Act has reduced the differential in the amount paid to skilled and unskilled workers.
Mr. Shafiuddin Ashraf General Secretary Dawn Union &
Former Chairman of APNEC
Mr. Mazhar Abbas Karachi Bureau Chief AFP
Mr. Sajid Aziz Secretary General PFUJ &
Sr. correspondent The News
Dr. Tanvir A. Tahir Executive Director APNS
Mr. Sami Ahmed Vice President The News Employees Union (CBA)
Gazette of Pakistan extraordinary Jan 31, 1961 to Oct 25,2001
Journal of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ)
Zafar Ahmed MA (previous)
Deptt. Of mass communication
University of Karachi.
Posted by zafarahmedku06
at 5:11 PM
Updated: Saturday, 13 May 2006 6:53 PM