PFUJ concerned over massive retrenchment in Media Times groups
ISLAMABAD, Jan. 22:- The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ)
has expressed its dismay and concern over arbitrary sacking of around
300 media related employees from Urdu daily Aaj Kal and television
Channel Business Plus, including Editor Aaj Kal, Khalid Chaudhry, without any notice and termed it a cruel act and classic example of lawlessness.
Reports reaching PFUJ Secretariat revealed that more than 160 employees of Daily Aaj Kal and Business Plus were sacked from Karachi
Office, another 65 from Lahore and 55 from Islamabad. The sacked staffers were not even paid any arrears and notice pay in lieu of
termination order as envisaged under the law.
Media Times, which was owned by late Punjab Governor Salman Taseer had been in trouble since the launching of Urdu Daily “Aaj Kal” in 2007.
Initially, the group that also publishes English daily “Daily Times” had looked strong enough but with the beginning of the Daily “Aaj Kal”, the group staffers had been witnessing various crises, including retrenchments
of the media related employees in phases from Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Quetta,
Peshawar and other parts of the country.
Ironically, all those who has been retrenched during the past one year
from the group publications and channels were not paid their
legitimate dues, arrears, and other fringe benefits in terms of 7th Wage Board Award, the PFUJ added.
The PFUJ pointed out that the group has also been delaying payment of salaries to its employees and there used to be a backlog of four
months’ salaries for the last two years.
The PFUJ pointed out that the Media Times started its publications and channels with a claim that it would bring a revolution in the media sector on the basis of quality and excellent working environment in which the entire employees would be given remuneration as per their professional capability.
The PFUJ contended that act sudden removal of media related employees form the Media Time group is not only illegal, but against provisions of labour laws, morally and constitutionally. It is also a
serious offence and it is pity that the concerned departments, especially labour department have failed to take action against them which reflects that there is no rule of law in the country, especially
to check unlawful and illegal acts of media owners,” the PFUJ
The PFUJ said how strange is that 300 media related employees who were working in the Media Times publications and had more than service from 5 to six years to their credit were sacked in one go without any notice or payment of dues or intimation.
“Even for an ordinary worker of a small factory in such circumstances, the management has to fulfill certain legal obligations and seek permission from the Labour Department but by this act of the media management has once again proved that there is no concept of respect for law in Pakistan for media persons”. During the past two years
already more than 1500 employees from various media organisations had been unilaterally and arbitrarily had been sacked without any legal
justification and payment of legitimate dues, the PFUJ asserted.
The PFUJ demanded of the Federal and Punjab, Sindh governments to
take notice of the high-handedness of the management Media Times and they should be proceeded as per law on charge of illegal lock-out and other provisions of labour laws.
The PFUJ expressing its full support to the affected staff of the
daily assured them that it would not allow media owners to treat media
persons as a “tissue paper” and would fight for their rights in all forums come what may.