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Bollywood workers go on strike

Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai | October 01, 2008 11:22 IST

Bollywood junior artists and workers have launched a non-cooperation movement on Wednesday morning thereby affecting shootings in Mumbai. The workers are demanding better wages and settlement of dues.

Dinesh Chaturvedi, General Secretary, Federation of Western India Cine Employees said, "Since this morning we are not going to sets and that has resulted in cancellation of many shootings. We will not report to work unless our settlement of wages does not take place.

"In all 22 unions varying from actors to technicians are supporting our demand and 1,47,000 people have not reported to work today bringing all the shootings to halt," added Chaturvedi.

The workers are against the television and film producers who have not paid the dues of the workers, technicians and artists on time.

"They are also employing people who are not associated with our unions and thus cheating our workers of work," added Chaturvedi.

He said, "It is not a strike but just a non cooperation for demand of better pay. It is within our rights to ask for a better pay. A film worker gets Rs 600 per day and a television worker gets Rs 500. The least the producers can do is pay them on time. We hope that they do so and if they don't then this non-cooperation movement will continue."

Chaturvedi clarified that this move was not all of a sudden as the producers were given notice about their demands in August.

An actor on condition of anonymity said, "We work 12 hours shift and not eight according to the rules. The worse part is that we get paid after 90 days after work is done and not 60 days though we signed proper contracts. It is unjust."

She further said, "If we protest then the producers say there are many other fishes in the sea and they sack us. So, one has to give in to the demands of producers as there is too much of competition in the market."

Ratan Jain, president of the Association of Motion Picture & TV Programme Producers (AMPTPP) said, "The strike is not in the interest of the industry. Many shootings have come to halt and ultimately it will lead to losses for everyone. We can always sit down and talk to find a solution.

"At present we are entering the festive season and workers cannot afford to go without earnings at this time. I am planning to call a meeting of producers by evening and then we will meet the workers' representatives to sort out the problem. I am hopeful things will get sorted out soon."

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