Labour court restrains Outlook group from terminating People mag employees

MUMBAI: It was last weekend that the Outlook group announced that it was shutting down three of its magazines - Geo, People, and Marie Claire. That announcement may end up being just a proclamation if the journalists working at People magazine have their way. They have managed to get the Mumbai Labour Court to issue a restraint on the Outlook group management from terminating its employees till the due process of law is followed.

In its order, the court, presided by small causes court judge P K Chitnis, directed Outlook to maintain status quo of the services of its employees. "Respondents are directed to maintain status quo and services of the complainants may not be terminated without following due procedure of law," said the court order.

The copy of the court order has been sent to both Outlook management president Indranil Roy and editorial chairman, senior journalist Vinod Mehta.

The court took notice of a petition filed today morning by People magazine editor Saira Menezes along with 16 other employees. Advocate Anees S Kazi represented the complainants.

The Outlook management had through a public statement issued on 26 July announced the termination of its licenses with international magazines-People, Marie Claire and Geo.

Almost 60 employees will be affected by the shutting down of the three magazines. The petition was filed by the employees of People, India, but could apply to the employees across the three magazines.

At the time of writing the report, the Outlook management had not received the court order. "I have not received the order as yet, but have only heard about it," informed Outlook Publishing president Indranil Roy.

"Outlook group has never held back anyone's dues and neither do we plan to do it in this case. The dues will be cleared. After all we are all friends. No one should doubt our intentions," he added.

When asked on the time frame within which the dues of the employees will be cleared Roy said, "Now that the matter has been taken to the court, we will talk to the court only."

When Outlook Group editorial chairman Vinod Mehta was contacted, he refused to comment.

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