Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Secretary Omar Faruque on Tuesday said that journalists were six steps behind government officials in terms of job prestige and salary.
The BFUJ secretary made the remark at a press conference organised at the National Press Club in Dhaka to press demands for a 9th wage board award for journalists.
In his written statement, Faruque said the pay scale for government officials is Tk86,000 at the special grade and the starting salary is Tk22,000 at the trainee level.
On the other hand, the salary for journalists stands at Tk35,875 at the special grade and Tk12,600 at the trainee level according to the 8th wage board.
“Journalists have been demanding for the 9th wage board award for a long time now, but our voices are not being heard,” Faruque said.
He added that President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had both expressed their support for a 9th wage board award for journalists at the annual general meeting of the Dhaka Union of Journalists.
“The indifference of the Ministry of Information is leaving journalists frustrated and agitated. They have begun to lose faith as they have not received any response on the wage board award from Minister of Information Hasanul Haq Inu,” he said.
Faruque further alleged that the information minister was conspiring to exclude journalists of electronic media from the new wage board.
The BFUJ secretary also announced several measures to be taken until the demand was met. These include the organisation of human chains and rallies from August 9 to 18, a daylong hunger strike by journalists at the Jatiya Press Club on September 20, daily sit-in protests by journalists’ associations from September 24, the banning of the minister of information at all events and activities and a boycott of all events where the minister of information is present.
The salary grade for journalists starts from the sixth grade of the pay scale for government officials.
Earlier this month, Finance Minister AMA Muhith denied the necessity for a new wage scale for journalists at a meeting with leaders of the Newspaper Owners Association Bangladesh (NOAB).
“All the newspapers published from Dhaka, except for some 10 to 12, are rubbish and bogus. These newspapers print news without paying government duties and collect advertisements from the government. Should we implement a new wage board for such newspapers?” he said.
This story was originally published on the Bangla Tribune