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Newspaper unions threaten strike

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New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) Newspaper and news agency employees' unions today served a 15-day notice to the government to set up a new wage board for journalists and non-journalists or face a nationwide strike.

The Confederation of Newspaper and News Agency Employees Organisations, which held a 'March to Parliament' this afternoon, submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding constitution of the wage board.

''If the Prime Minister does not respond to the memorandum within 15 days and meet the representatives of the workers, we will be forced to give a call for a nationwide strike, '' Confederation general secretary M S Yadav told a rally of more than 2,000 protestors.

Traffic along the thoroughfare near Parliament was disrupted for more than two hours after the protestors sat on a dharna when the police prevented them from reaching the Parliament complex to stage a rally.

''The Prime Minister, in his annual press conference promised to constitute to the Sixth Pay Commission for government employees but despite support from various political parties he is not announcing the constitution of a wage board for journalists,'' said Nand Kishore Trikha, president of the National Union of Journalists.

The Confederation was formed last year to press for the constitution of a new wage board. The last wage board was formed in 1994.

All India Newspaper Employees' Federation, Indian Journalists' Union, National Union of Journalists, Delhi Journalists' Association, PTI Employees' Federation and UNI Workers' Union are among the constituents of the Confederation.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the CPI announced their support to the newspaper employees' demand for a new wage board.

UNI KSA FZ PA AT RK1635

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