Soni frowns on DD, AIR employees’ strike

Friday, December 10, 2010

NEW DELHI - With employees of Doordarshan and All India Radio set to go on another strike from Monday, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni Friday said the employees were part of “an essential service”.

It (strike) should not take place in a national utility like a public broadcaster, Soni said on the sidelines of a function at her residence to release DAVP calendar for 2011.

The employees went on strike last month demanding repeal of the Prasar Bharti Act.

She said talks had been held with the employees to address their concerns and a group of ministers was looking at various aspects of the Prasar Bharti Act.

She said it had been conveyed to the employees that they were part of an essential service.

The National Federation of All India Radio and Doordarshan Employees, which last month called for 48-hour boycott of duties, has again given notice for a similar action for 72 hours from Dec 13.

The minister also expressed difficulty in addressing the demand of employees for repeal of the act. She said if such a step was taken by the government, it may be construed that the government wants to take charge of the public broadcasters.

A federation leader told IANS that their talks with the government had not been successful so far. He said if there was difficulty in repealing the act, the government should agree to retain the employees and assets with the government.

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