ISLAMABAD, Oct 8: An increase of 50 per cent in the wages of newspaper employees was announced by the chairman 7th Wage Board here on Monday, plainly stating that wages fixed under the Award were “minimum” and the employer was free to pay higher, either unilaterally or in view of collective agreement.

Announcing the salient features of the 7th Wage Board Award, Justice Afrasiab Khan said the increase in the Award would be applicable from July 1, 2000 and newspaper organizations and news agencies were required to pay all the arrears till December 2001.

The award would be applicable to the contract employees as well, he said.

The employees in the editor grade drawing Rs9400 as basic pay, would now be entitled to get Rs14100. Those in special grade, with Rs7800 as their basic pay would now be entitled for Rs11700.

Grade I, employee drawing Rs5200 would now be entitled for Rs7800. Similarly an employee in Grade II, with Rs4350 as basic salary would now be entitled to get Rs7600.

According to new wage Award, the employer, at the time of appointment, transfer or promotion of an employee would be required to communicate in writing the designation and the duties which the employees would be called upon to perform and that would determine the grade in which he should be automatically placed.

The employer should pay to the employees engaged in occupations classified in schedule II at rates not less than the respective new pay scales fixed for each grade. “The minimum rates of wages fixed in schedule I shall not be regarded as maximum rates and any existing wage higher than that now fixed should not be reduced.”

“The employer shall, however, be free to pay higher wages either unilaterally or on his own initiative or by collective agreement in view of any special consideration including experience or higher cost of living in a particular locality or region.”

Under the new Award any employee who reaches the maximum stage of his pay scale applicable to the grade, after completion of one year’s satisfactory service, shall automatically move over to the next higher grade.

The pay of an employee promoted at the discretion of his employer, to fill up vacancy in higher grade, should be fixed at such stage of the higher pay scale as fall next above the last pay last drawn by him in the lower grade.

All the A category newspapers would be required to pay general transport allowance to its employees from Grade I to grade III at the rate of Rs1275 per month. The employees of A category newspapers would pay Rs1050 to its employees in grade IV to Grade VII. The employees in grade VIII will be paid Rs825.

All the B category newspapers would be required to pay GTA varying from Rs 825 to 540.

The staff reporter, staff news photographer, staff correspondents or any other employees of the same or higher grade whose duties involved local travelling in a metropolitan centre would be entitled for local travel allowance of Rs2040 per month.

All the staff reporters, correspondents and staff and news photographers working in newspapers of metropolitan A category and news agencies of category A would also be paid Rs2400 every year as outfit allowance.

House rent allowance would be paid to all employees, irrespective of the category in which the newspaper employee was placed, at the rate of 60 per cent of the start of salary in the respective grade.

Annual increment should be allowed on July 1, every year to such employees who has completed six month service or more service at a particular stage of a pay scale. Employees who have not rendered at least six month’s service till July 1, might not get their next increment on next July 1.

The employer, could at his discretion, allow premature increments in consideration of employee’s age, experience in the profession and special qualification, fix his pay at any stage higher than minimum of the pay scale.

In addition to general transport allowance, a night transport allowance would be paid to all employees who were required to attend duties between 9.00pm to 5pm at the following rates:

a) Employees in Grade I to IV at the rate of Rs37 per night.

b) Employees in Grade V to VIII at the rate of Rs27 per night.

The computer staff would be paid Rs1500 per month. Key punch operators will get Rs450 as per month.

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