Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader today said the government is very sincere to reach a ‘reasonable and realistic’ solution over the issue of Ninth Wage Board Award for journalists and employees working in newspapers and news agencies.
“We want a reasonable and realistic solution through discussions,” he told reporters at the conference room of Information Ministry after a meeting of the reconstituted cabinet committee on reviewing the report of the Ninth Wage Board.
Committee members Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, Industries Minister Nurul Mazid Mahmud Humayun and State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid were present in the meeting.
After the meeting, the review committee held a meeting with the leaders of Newspapers’ Owners Association of Bangladesh (NOAB).
Quader, also the convener of the reconstituted cabinet committee, said the issue is old, but “we started our journey newly”.
He said the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is looking into the matter seriously. The Prime Minister has formed a high powered and strong cabinet committee in the maiden meeting of the cabinet of the new government on January 21 last.
Thanking the leaders of NOAB as they joined the meeting on a short notice, Quader said it is initial discussions and they expressed their observations and gave comments. “Open discussions were held in the meeting and they informed us their bottom line. Discussions would be held with the journalists also,” he added.
Quader, also the general secretary of Awami League, said the issue of the Ninth Wage Board Award is not very easy. There are some complexities and mutual cooperation is needed to find out a solution, he added.
He said problems will be created in the implementation process if the committee declares the award unilaterally. “No results would come if we declare it unilaterally. No one will get benefit,” he added.
About the electronic media, Quader said, “We are also considering the issue to bring the journalists of the electronic media under the wage board. More discussions will be held in phases.”
Replaying to a question on the mushroom growth of online newspapers, Dr Hasan Mahmud said there are some online newspapers in the country which are doing well. But there are also a number of mushroom online newspapers and those phased out after formulation of the broadcast policy, he added.
The cabinet approved a proposal for reconstituting the cabinet committee on reviewing the report of the Ninth Wage Board for journalists and employees working in newspapers and news agencies on January 21 in its maiden meeting.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader is the head the seven-member committee and the other members are Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, Agriculture Minister Dr Abdur Razzak, Industries Minister Nurul Mazid Mahmud Humayun, State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid and State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Munnujan Sufian.