The Press Trust of India’s management released the following statement on Wednesday after the retrenchment of 297 non-journalist employees:

The Press Trust of India’s management makes it clear that no journalist was affected in last week’s retrenchment exercise, in which 297 employees became redundant and were compensated with generous financial packages. Of those retrenched on September 29, 147 are attenders, 80 are from the transmission department, and 70 from the engineering department. They are being compensated as per the guidelines of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947, and will receive amounts ranging from Rs. 28 lakh to Rs. 1.09 crore.

Over the last two decades, several functions in news organisations have become wholly redundant. News which was earlier created and transmitted through electro-mechanical methods such as typewriters, teleprinters and telexes is now transmitted by digital technology. This had left PTI with redundant and surplus staff at a time the media industry in general is facing tremendous strain.

After PTI, a not-for-profit company, implemented the recommendations of the Majithia Wage Board for journalists and non-working journalists in 2014, the company had to pay arrears amounting to Rs 105 crore by dipping into its reserves. Last year, PTI’s news services made an operating loss of Rs. 34.1 crore.

An attractive Voluntary Retirement Scheme(VRS) was offered to employees late last year. This was met with limited success. To ensure the continued financial health of the company and to protect its core business of producing and disseminating news, the retrenchment exercise became necessary. The 297 retrenched employees will be receiving compensation ranging from Rs. 28 lakh to Rs. 1.09 crore, including statutory payments of provident fund and gratuity. Of them, 252 employees will receive a sum of Rs. 40 lakh to Rs. 60 lakh.

A total of 58 employees who were nearing retirement will get more than what they would have earned in their remaining service period.

PTI, the country’s premier news agency, believes its dedicated employees are its core strength as it pursues excellence in journalism. Our endeavour will always be to ensure that the core remains strong in the face of tremendous upheavals in the media industry around the world.