A day after they signed the Memorandum of Understanding with television producers, the workers' union Federation of Western India Cine Employees has gone back on its word and renewed the strike. The new development took place because the workers felt that the union leaders signed the documents without taking them into confidence.
"There is fighting within the workers' union at the moment, and the strike is very much on. They are not united," said Mukesh Bhatt, Chairman of the Core Committee Film Producers' Bodies. "They promised us yesterday that they would report to work today but no shoot started because of their lack of unity," Bhatt continued. "I don't know whether they will unite and come back to work by Sunday."
If that is the case, re-runs will continue on television.
The FWICE consists of more than 20 unions that include light men, make up men and sound recordists. Its president Dharmendra Tiwari and other union members signed the MOU, which gave an increase of 35 percent in salaries for the workers, and put them under a contract, rather than being paid on a daily basis.
However, sources say that some members of the association did not agree to the MOU, and wanted to revise it.
But will the producers re-negotiate with their new demands? "The workers' union has to honour the MOU signed yesterday," Bhatt said. "They cannot go back on their word. We will not re-negotiate with them on wage hikes. If they want to shut down the television industry in Mumbai, let them do so. We will move out of Mumbai and work but not give in to these blackmailing tactics."
Tiwari was unavailable for comment, as were the other union leaders.