Hindustan Times agrees to pay over Rs 14 crore to 147 employees sacked in 2004

HT Ltd case – Next court hearing on 5 February 2019

The Hindustan Times

The Delhi Union of Journalists has sent out an eMail with a link to a report in www.Scroll.in about the longstanding case of Hindustan Times workers who were let go in 2004 when the company moved many of its assets out of Connaught Place in New Delhi to Noida and Greater Noida. In the eMail, the president of DUJ SK Pande and its general secretary Sujata Madhok state, “In public interest and solidarity and with the hope of early implementation of court directives, we circulate the report from the ‘Scroll.’ The court order gives hope to Hindustan Times workers. We hope it is implemented, in letter and spirit.”

The following is largely based on the report in www.Scroll.in.

The Hindustan Times told a Delhi court on Monday 24 December 2018, that it will pay more than Rs. 14 crore to 147 employees who had been sacked in 2004. These employees are among the 272 employees who were fired by Hindustan Times Limited in 2004, after the company’s media business was transferred to Hindustan Times Media Limited.

More than 20 employees have since died and some are bed-ridden. In August, the Delhi High Court had told the company to reinstate the 272 employees who were sacked and pay them back wages for the period between 1 January 2004 and 31 August 2018.

“To begin with, let the management deposit the wages of all the workmen, who have not yet attained the age of superannuation with benefit of continuity of service as per terms and conditions of service for the period from 01.01.2014 till 31.08.2018 as per the Award with the Executing Court within one month which shall be disbursed by the Executing Court to each workman individually,” the High Court had said in its judgement.

The company told the Executing Court on Monday “an amount of Rs 14,71,30,178 is due towards these [147] employees and the same is being deposited by way of a cheque in the name of the court.” The company also told the court that it did not know of the employees who had since died.

The 70-odd decree holders, or former Hindustan Times employees in whose favor the High Court had ruled, however, claimed the company’s list of 147 employees is incorrect. They said there were 158 employees who have not yet “attained superannuation.” They also submitted to the court that they were disputing the amount the company is releasing, but said they were “willing to accept the amount offered subject to their rights to dispute the same and file objections.”

Judge Twinkle Wadhwa directed the company to release the amount to the workers by 8 January, [2019] along with the relevant calculations on the basis of which the company reached the amount. The judge also directed Hindustan Times to obtain the necessary documents pertaining to the death of the over 20 former employees and release their dues to their legal representatives. The court will next hear the case on 5 February 2019.

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