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Collage Maker-12-Sep-2022-12

Cement Industry Wage Settlement Talks Stuck As Labour Leaders Demand ‘Similar Pay For Similar Jobs’

Time was when industry wage settlements were watched with quite an expectation from stakeholders across the canvass. Much water has flowed under the bridge since then. The economic context may have transformed significantly post the liberalisation. But this industry has been a role model in putting in place a consensual wage ecosystem. The cement industry has seen eight such settlements in the past. A little trip down memory lane will reveal how N Srinivasan, MD & Vice-Chairman of The India Cements Ltd, has been a fulcrum in hammering out an amicable wage accord. The industry is due for a fresh wage arrangement following the expiry of the accord in April this year. Indeed, the talks were held for two days some time ago in Chennai. But the discussions remained inconclusive. This time around, the unions – six in all – are insisting that the issue of temporary workers be resolved first before deliberating on a fresh wage pact. Only 18% of the workforce in the cement industry is permanent employees. The rest are temporary workers. Given this, the unions are worried over this increasing trend in the industry. Similar pay for similar jobs is what the unions are demanding now irrespective of the permanent or temporary tag attached to a workman. Rising cost pressures and demand instability are giving a new dimension to the IR (industrial relation) scene in the cement industry, it appears.
Collage Maker-10-Sep-2022-10

Telangana Guv Protests Shoddy Treatment; KCR Fears Growing BJP Clout?

Frosty ties between the Telangana Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government led by K Chandrasekhar Rao came to the fore with the Governor bitterly recalling how she was not allowed to hoist flag on the 75th Independence Day and earlier at the Republic Day. “The state will write history about how a woman Governor was discriminated against… Even now wherever I go protocol isn’t followed,” she said at a public function on completing three years in office. KCR’s daughter and TRS MLC K Kavitha charged the governor of turning her office into a “political stage” to “defame” the Telangana government adding that “BJP-driven smear campaigns” would not cut any ice with the people. Initially, KCR had kept the Governor in good humour and maintained a good relationship with the Centre. This equation turned adversarial after BJP’s steady gains in Telangana post 2019. Kavitha lost her Nizamabad Lok Sabha seat to the BJP. A year later in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls, the BJP emerged as the second-largest player on a turf where it was considered a negligible force. Out of 150-seats, BJP won 48, TRS 55 and AIMIM 44. With just 17 Lok Sabha seats, KCR knows Telangana may not count for much. That’s perhaps why he decided to team up with Nitish Kumar to raise opposition bulwark against the BJP.
Collage Maker-10-Sep-2022-11

Streaming Is King As TV & Cable Players Lack New Content

For the first time ever, streaming usage has claimed the largest share of Television viewing in the U.S. According to Gauge, Nielsen’s monthly total TV and streaming snapshot, streaming notched up 34.8 % of total TV viewing while cable and broadcast came in at 34.4% and 21.6% respectively. Streaming usage increased 3.2 % in July compared to June 2022. Time spent streaming in July averaged nearly 191 billion minutes per week and each of the five measurement weeks in July 2022 now account for five of the six highest volume streaming weeks on record. Streaming majors, Prime Video, Netflix HULU and YouTube each captured record-high shares again in July after doing so in June. Netflix got the largest share of overall TV viewing with 8 % boosted by the nearly 18 billion viewing minutes of Strange Times alone. Both Cable and Broadcast are losing out for want of new content. Both have lost mainly their sports viewers which has moved to streaming with the major OTT players lapping the digital rights. The same trend is repeating in India and the proof of that is aggressive bidding for sports properties by broadcast and cable players. Reliance Viacom18 walked away with the digital rights for the next four years of IPL paying Rs 237.58 billion. Disney Star paid Rs 235.75 billion for broadcast rights. Clearly, the future is streaming.

Cong Post On Khaki Shorts Afire: Is It A Signal To Attack BJP Workers?

A Congress post featuring a burning pair of Khaki shorts in an apparent dig at the RSS, triggered a war of words in the backdrop of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra. In its tweet, Congress wrote “To free the country from shackles of hate and undo the damage done by BJP-RSS. Step-by-step, we will reach our goal.” The image of the burning Khaki shorts was captioned: “145 days more to go.” The tweet did not name the RSS though it clearly pointed at the organisation’s trademark Khaki shorts. Incidentally, the RSS had given up its Khaki shorts for trousers in 2016. The Congress tweet evoked strong BJP and RSS reactions. While the BJP demanded that the tweet be taken down as it was a signal to violence against its workers in Kerala where they were subjected to violence. “They want to connect people to hatred. They’ve harboured hatred for us for a long time now. Their father and grandfather tried to stop the RSS but the RSS did not stop and kept growing as we continued to get support from people,” said Dr Manmohan Vaidya, an RSS leader. Bangalore South MP Tejasvi Surya said the tweet was typical of the Congress “ecosystem of violence”. BJP spokesperson Dr Sambit Patra described Rahul’s Bharat Jodo Yatra as Bharat Todo aur Aag Lago Yatra.

Rahul Gandhi’s Fitness Not In Doubt As He Walks Fast On The Yatra

The one thing that Rahul Gandhi is unlikely to suffer from on his long walk is lack of fitness. He has serious claims to being the fittest politician among the lot who are prominent on the national scene. Apart from being a Black Belt in karate, Rahul is also credited with deep sea diving feats that might surprise the U.S. Marines who pride themselves on their fitness and endurance feats. Rahul is credited with being able to free-dive to depths that the fittest Marines would not find easy to match. So, Rahul’s endurance will probably not be on test so much in the course of his planned 3,570-km walk in about 150 days. The first complaint to be registered as the Bharat Jodo Yatra began was from his security detail who found it difficult to keep pace with his strong gait. It wasn’t so much the speed as the difficulty faced in being able to track any threats from different directions as Rahul raced on his feet on the first day. His feedback team seems to have done a good job as the problem was taken back to the former Congress President who immediately course-corrected by walking much slower from Day 2.


Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.