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AIR casual staff complains to MIB against ‘illegal’ undertaking

MUMBAI: Protesting against an alleged ‘illegal’ undertaking by Prasar Bharati, casual announcers and presenters of All India Radio (AIR) have filed a complaint to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) and Prasar Bharati CEO.

Filed under the aegis of AIR Broadcasting Professionals Association, the complaint notes that the said undertaking prevents the casual employees from approaching any court or legal authority to seek a permanent position in the public broadcaster, reports the Times of India.

The presenters have claimed that those in the Delhi station were being ‘forced’ to sign the undertaking that does not bear any stamp or logo of AIR/Prasar Bharati.

“Casual presenters of FM Gold are being threatened that their bookings (on air time) will be stopped if they don’t sign the undertaking,” the report adds.

The association is contesting a case in the Central Administrative Tribunal, New Delhi for regularisation of casual presenters.

However, a senior AIR official told TOI that there was no such undertaking.

Association members said that several casual announcers for the national channel of AIR, DTH and other channels of the Delhi station had signed these undertakings under coercion and that the language of these undertakings was different.

“I have been threatened and even pulled off air because I protested and refused to sign the undertaking,” an announcer told the daily.

The undertaking, a copy of which TOI reviewed, stated, “I further undertake that I will not approach any court, tribunal, forum, authority or any other legal, or competent body at any point of time in future, for claiming any right for permanent position or regularisation of services as an announcer/presenter/compere in All India Radio on the basis of casual duty bookings.”