DUJ Condemn the Move, Extends Solidarity with Retrenched Journalists
The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has condemned the sudden retrenchment of 297 employees by country’s premier news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) and urged Ministry of Information Broadcasting and Ministry of Labour to step in to stop the anti-labour and anti-media moves.
In a press release issued on Sunday, the national capital’s journalists’ body said “DUJ takes strong objection to the arbitrary retrenchment of 297 permanent employees by the management of the Press Trust of India. The management has chosen to suddenly throw out staffers who have spent long years building up the country’s premier news agency and taking it to new heights.”
The press release further said that the employees “have been summarily thrown out by putting up a list of names at the PTI office. Letters have, reportedly, been sent to homes and, according to the management’s claims, dues have been directly transferred to individual bank accounts.”
“We condemn this move by the PTI management and demand that it be revoked at the earliest. The Union Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting must step in at this juncture to stop these anti-labour and anti-media moves,” the journalists’ body said.
Moreover, the DUJ has called upon “all PTI employees to unite in solidarity and resist the retrenchment.” They have also called upon the wider journalist community to show solidarity with their victimized colleagues..
On Saturday, PTI sacked 297 employees across the country triggering a controversy. The retrenchment order, dated 29 September, is signed by M. R. Mishra, the Chief Administrative Officer of the agency.
The copies of retrenchment letters along with the names of the employees who lost their jobs were uploaded on organization’s website. They were also placed on the desk and those “individuals whose names appeared in the displayed list was required to collect the same under receipt”.
Reacting to the move, federation of PTI employees’ unions has claimed the retrenchment was “illegal”. In a letter written to Venkey Venkatesh, the Chief Executive Officer of the agency, federation’s general Secretary Balram Singh Dahiya said, “We strongly protest the PTI Management’s unilateral and unprovoked decision to illegally retrench 297 PTI employees all over India today. We demand that this illegal retrenchment be withdrawn with immediate effect.”
Moreover, Dahiya said, “Please note that we will be holding day long gate meetings and dharnas at all PTI centers starting Monday, 1st Oct. 2018 till the illegal retrenchment orders are rescinded.”
PTI is the largest news agency in the country, with its headquarters in New Delhi and is a non-profit cooperative among more than 500 newspapers. As of January 2016, the agency had more than 1000 full-time employees. This is the only news agency in South Asia which operates its own communication satellite, an INSAT, to broadcast news ang information.