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Sakaal Times reaches settlement with laid-off employees of its Delhi office

The Sakaal Times employees in Delhi have reached an agreement with the management on a compensation package which is agreeable to both sides.

KK Laskar, convenor of the employees' action committee that has been formed to fight for the rights of employees, said that the issue of compensation had been amicably resolved to the "complete satisfaction" of the employees.

Sixtyone employees were laid off on November 30 when the Delhi operations of the Sakaal Times of the Pune-based Sakaal Media Group were closed down. Staff members had little warning of the decision, which was conveyed through a notice pasted to the door of the newspaper’s office, signed by an unnamed “authorised signatory”. The notice said all staff had been informed of the decision by mail at residential addresses registered with the management.

The owner of Sakaal Times is Abhijit Pawar, nephew of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, whose daughter Supriya Sule is on the board of Sakal Papers Ltd.

The Delhi bureau was established with the intent of launching an edition in India’s capital. However, the closure notice said the “heavy expenses” incurred in the Delhi operations were “resulting in substantial losses to the company”. The situation was “further compounded by the present serious downtrend in the economy," according to the notice.

Earlier, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) had expressed alarm over the incident. Its Asia-Pacific office said, “Sakaal Media is setting a very unhealthy precedent for media organisations seeking to cope with the many possible ramifications of the global economic downturn. The Sakaal group must adopt a policy of complete candour and transparency in its dialogue with workers, including with regard to the company’s financial position. Journalists recruited for a publication launched as recently as May cannot be made the victim of poor financial planning and whimsical personnel management decisions.”

Date posted: December 4, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 366