Labour laws to be implemented in newspaper industry: Omar
ISLAMABAD- The government will ensure implementation of all labour-related laws in the newspaper industry, the federal labour minister, according to Omar Asghar Khan.
He was speaking at the annual general joint meeting of nationwide unions of newspaper employees and journalists. The meeting was presided over by All Pakistan Newspapers Employees Confederation (Apnec) president Abul Hameed Chhapra.
The minister assured leaders of Apnec and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) that he would try to arrange a meeting between them and President Gen Pervez Musharraf to resolve journalist community’s problems.
He said the draft of the proposed labour policy had been released for the public consideration and it aimed at protecting the rights of workers in the industrial concerns, including the newspaper industry.
Mr. Khan agreed that the contractual employment system needed to be abolished; hence the proposed policy sought the employers to declare a definition of a permanent and temporary employee.
He said the government fulfilled its responsibilities to an extent, while facilitating the announcement of the 7th wage board award. He assured the meeting that he would ask the representative bodies of the newspaper owners not to deny the rights of their employees.
Others who spoke on the occasion included, Mr. Chhapra, the PFUJ president, I.H. Rashid, vice president CR. Shamsi, secretary general Fauzia Shahid and Apnec secretary-general Pervez Shaukat.
Mr. Chhapra said the newspaper industry received about Rs.600 million government advertisements every year, which differentiated it from other industries. However, on the other hand, the owners are reluctant to pay wages.
Mr. I.H. Rashid said it was unfortunate that newspaper owners were not prepared to implement the 7th wage board award and planning to-file an appeal before the Supreme Court.
Mohammad Ikram, in his speech, expressed disappointment that former law minister Abdul Hafeez Pirzada was going to plead the case of the newspapers owners, despite the fact that he was the author of the law, which guaranteed all the legal rights of the journalists.
Minhaj Burna, who led Apnec and the PFUJ for several terms, attended the meeting on special, request by the two unions.
Earlier, Pervez Shaukat presented a report on the state of affairs on the implementation of wage related laws in the newspapers.