The management of the Press Trust of India released a statement following the lay-off of 297 non-journalist staff.
The statement clarified that no journalists were impacted by the lay-off, and those who were laid off were compensated with substantial financial packages.
As per the statement, compensation for 147 attenders, 80 employees from the transmission department, and 70 from the engineering department is based on the guidelines of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947. They will be eligible for packages of Rs. 28 lakh to Rs. 1.09 crore, which will include provident fund and gratuity. 252 employees will be paid between Rs. 40 lakh to Rs. 60 lakh. Also, 58 employees who were due to retire soon will end up receiving more than what they would have got had they completed their tenure.
In the last twenty years, news agencies have had to deal with several functions being rendered redundant. With the advent of digital technology, news is no longer created and transmitted via electro-mechanical techniques using typewriters, teleprinters or telex machines. This has led to the problem of excess and redundant staff, and that too at a time when the media, on the whole, is going through a strenuous phase.
In 2014, the not-for-profit news agency had ended up paying about Rs 105 crore in arrears from its reserves, following the implementation of the recommendations of the Majithia Wage Board for journalists and non-working journalists.
In 2017, the news service incurred a loss of Rs 34.1 crore in operations.
The employees were offered a voluntary retirement scheme in 2017, but it had few takers. That is why, PTI had to resort to retrenchment so as to ensure that its main business of news production and dissemination goes on without financial hiccups.