The government yesterday appoined K Narayana Kurup, retired judge of the Kerala High Court, Chairperson of the two Wage Boards for working and non-working journalists following approval by Dr Manmohan Singh. The proposal was cleared by the Union Cabinet in December 2006.
The protestors under the banner of Confederation of Newspaper and News agency Employees Organisations, were, however, prevented from reaching the Prime Minister's residence and stopped opposite the Shram Shakti Bhawan, housing the Labour ministry's office.
The marchers gathered outside 9, Rafi Marg, the UNI headquarters and started the procession, carrying placards and banners. They shouted slogans against the dilly dallying tactics of the Labour Ministry pertaining to notification of the Boards.
The protesters organised a rally on the spot which was addressed by representatives of the All India Newspaper Employees Federation, Indian Journalists Union, National Union of Journalists (India), UNI Workers Union and the Federation of PTI Employees Unions.
Confederation General Secretary M S Yadav said despite the Prime Minister's intervention, the Labour ministry had chosen to delay notification of the Boards and only the Board's Chairman was announced in an official statement.
"We want the government to heed our demands without further delay otherwise the workers will be forced to launch a sustained agitation," Mr Yadav said.
The Confederation leaders demanded that the stipulated time framework of three years for finalising the recommendations should be curtailed to 18 months on the pattern of the government employees case.
They also asked the government for early announcement of the interim relief not less than 60 per cent of the basic pay.
The Confederation also submitted a memorandum in the office of the Labour Minister.
The Confederation thanked Dr Singh, Congress Chief and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes for constituting the Wage Boards.