The hectic shooting schedules of television have again gone for a toss, and this time it is the Producers’ Body that has called for an indefinite strike. For the uninitiated, Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) went on a strike in the first week of October and demanded a huge hike in their rates.
According to our sources, “The Producers’ body had informed the Federation then, that they will need time till November 4th to take a decision, because if they were to meet with the big increase in rates that the workers demand, they themselves will need a hike from the channels to sustain this outflow of money”.
However, it has been reported that the Federation people did not find it feasible to wait till the above said date; they started barging into the sets and disrupted many a shooting schedules in the past 2-3 days. As an aftermath to this, the Producers’ body headed by Mr. Mukesh Bhatt, Chairman, Core Committee Film Producers’ Body and Mr. Manish Goswami called for a meeting yesterday evening, in which they decided to put their foot down and call for a strike.
Says Ratna Sinha, Producer Chota Ganpati Telecreations, “Nearly 25 people entered our sets yesterday and took to hooliganism. They have disrupted shoot all over the city giving rise to an ugly scenario. I don’t understand why such incidents should happen in a rather peaceful industry like ours!! In fact, my workers are happy with the pay and have even told me that they would continue to shoot; but unfortunately they cannot do so as the Union with which they are bound is causing all problems. I hope all gets better after this”.
It is heard that the Federation has demanded a huge rise which is rather unfair. According to our sources, “As per their demand, the producers would be paying at least Rs. 75,000 to still photographers and nearly 30,000/- to the light boys which is totally uncalled for, and unfair”.
Reiterating this is Mr. Shyamashis Bhattacharya, Producer Shakuntalam Telefilms who says, “If the new Union rates come into practice, as a producer I will be losing out on 70,000 – 1 lakh of extra money per episode. How will the industry sustain then? The Federation people have been causing havoc as they have been disrupting two of my shows and have been threatening the whole unit for the past 2 days. This strike from the Producers' body has happened for the first time, but this decision was not taken hastily. I just hope all that happens gives us a better place to work in”.
Rajan Shahi, Producer, Directors’ Kut says, “Yes, Bidaai shoot was also stopped yesterday as the Federation guys entered our sets. As an aftermath to the uncalled-for stoppages in shoot, our association has asked the TV producers not to shoot till we reach an understanding. Whether it is the television industry or the film industry, we all work as a team and it is team work that counts. Every worker is important to the show’s success, so I just hope that this halt in proceedings is only for a short span of time, as we too do not want to lose out on our working schedules. I hope we are successful in getting a fruitful outcome which will give rise to a more peaceful co-existence”.
A spokesperson from Balaji Telefilms adds, “The strike was very much on cards. The agenda of strike is that we wanted to come to a settlement with the workers for their demands, but they were not ready to wait till the date specified”.
Well, this certainly is yet another setback to the industry! But as all feel, let us hope that this stoppage is of short duration and most importantly, hope things get sorted out between the Producers’ body and the Federation workers.
Reporter: Srividya Rajesh, Rachana Trivedi
Author: Srividya Rajesh