Supreme Court of India rules equal pay for equal work28 Oct, 2016
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists (India) in welcoming the historic ruling by the Supreme Court of India that the principle of equal pay for equal work applies for every employee regardless of the status of employment. The IFJ strongly welcomes the decision as a step forward for equality in the media.
The bench of J.S. Khehar and S.A. Bobde ruled that an employee engaged for the same work, cannot be paid less than another based on whether they were engaged on regular or temporary basis. The Court said: “An employee engaged for the same work, cannot be paid less than another, who performs the same duties and responsibilities. Certainly not, in a welfare state. Such an action besides being demeaning, strikes at the very foundation of human dignity.”
The verdict came on the petitions filed by the temporary workers of the Punjab Government, who had moved to the Supreme Court after the Punjab and Haryana high courts denied them the pay-scale equivalent to the permanent employees. The SC said India must follow the equal pay for equal work principle because it was a signatory of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The NUJ(I) said: “The court has unequivocally rejected arguments of employers for lower pay to contract, temporary workers and slammed the claim that the workers are voluntarily accepting lower pay. The newspaper industry is also full of temporary and contract workers who are paid far below than stipulated by the Majithia Wage Board.”
The Supreme Court said that ‘anyone compelled to work at lower wages does not do so voluntarily’. The NUJ(I) added: “So, no more pleas of ‘voluntarily working at lower wages’ that some newspapers are putting forward will be accepted. We now call for Majithia recommendations to be implemented by all newspapers.”
The IFJ said: “The IFJ hails the verdict by the Supreme Court of India and demand that the Indian authorities ensure that all media staff, whether they were employed permanently or temporarily or on contract or casual basis, are paid equal wage as per recommended by the wage board.”