Contractual employees of DD News to observe Black Friday

NEW DELHI: The contractual employees of Doordarshan News who have been protesting peacefully by wearing black bands for a salary hike and better working conditions are to observe 5 August as Black Friday.

These employees have been protesting since yesterday by wearing black badges on their arms and will wear black clothes to show solidarity. Almost the entire staff including the packaging, camera section, editors, assignment, anchors, and reporters is part of this peaceful protest.

A senior anchor who did not want to be named said: "The UPA claims to be concerned about the welfare of the common man but we who have been working under this same government have not had a salary hike in the last 3 years. Inflation has risen drastically in this period and monthly expenditure has gone up at least twofold. Some of us have been working here for just Rs 10,000 for the last there years and every month we are given an assurance of a hike but nothing has happened yet".    
Currently, there are close to 350 employees with DD News. None of them are part of any social welfare scheme like medical/life insurance. They do not have the benefit of a Public Provident Fund. Even women employees are not given maternity benefits/leave and their salary is cut when they are on leave for delivery. Contractual employees are also not entitled to any national holidays.

These employees had observed a snap strike at prime time for a few hours earlier this year. Following that, the DD News administration had sent a recommendation to the Prasar Bharati Board for increase in wages. However, no decision has yet been taken, because a Prasar Bharati board member told that the attempt was to collate details of contractual employees in all DD channels before taking a decision.

DD News was launched in 2003 and is currently the only bi-lingual 24 hour TV channel on air. The anchor said several questions have been raised from time to time about the quality of news content on the channel, but this exploitation of employees is never put in the public domain. The protest is an effort to awaken the administration to their plight and take concrete steps to improve their quality of life.

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