Dhaka, Bangladesh
Why 9th news wage board not illegal

Why 9th news wage board not illegal

HC issues rule to govt

The High Court has issued a rule asking why the ninth wage board, which was formed to set the salary structure for newspaper and news media workers, should not be declared illegal. Justice Moinul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Ashraful Kamal issued the rule on Sunday after hearing a petition filed by Matiur Rahman, president of the Newspaper Owners Association of Bangladesh or NOAB and editor of the Prothom Alo. In a bid to block the new wage for journalists, Rahman had also sought a stay order on the operation of the wage board, but the request was turned down. Though the decision was made on Sunday, the news of the development was revealed to the press on Monday, reports bdnews24.com. The court gave the information secretary, the labour secretary and wage board chairman and retired Justice Md Nizamul Huq two weeks to respond to the rule. The court instructed the orders to be sent to the respondents by special messenger. Lawyer M Yusuf Ali represented the petitioners at the hearing, while Deputy Attorney General Ekramul Huq Tutul represented the state. News organisations have pushed for a new wage board since public sector workers received a new salary structure in 2015. In response, the information ministry on Jan 29 formed the wage board led by Justice Nizamul Huq, a retired Appellate Division judge. All preparations will be made to implement the wage structure by September, Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu said in April. Preparations were underway to announce new allowances by that time. But NOAB President Matiur Rahman went to court with a petition seeking to freeze the wage board's work amid these preparations. The move is seen as the latest in a series of steps by NOAB to delay or block the new wage. Rahman cited Article 55(6) of the Constitution and the Rules of Business implemented by the president and argued that the power to form a wage board is granted to the Ministry of Labour, his lawyer Yusuf Ali told bdnews24.com. "The Ministry of Information has no jurisdiction over the matter." "In addition, the Ministry of Information does not have an enforcement mechanism that allows them to implement the wage board. The Ministry of Labour does. For example, the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments has 500 inspectors across the country." On Sept 15, 2013, the government announced the eighth wage board for newspaper and news media workers, raising the salary of such workers by 75 percent. The new wage structure is expected to take effect from September. In October 2016, the government asked for representatives from relevant organisations to form the ninth wage board after pressure from journalists to raise salaries amid increasing inflation. But the Ministry of Information says the formation of the board was delayed after newspaper owners' organisation NOAB dithered over submitting the name of a representative for the board.

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