Article Hindi

Agitations are not solution, they should be last resort: Sushant Singh on FWICE strike


Singh also slammed the leadership of the FWICE saying that they have not undertaken any dialogue with the producers' body.

Photo: Shutterbugs Image

Shriram Iyengar

Even as the business of making films goes on apace, there is a body of film workers and employees presently on strike on the grounds of Film City in Mumbai.

The strike, called by the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), is protesting against the unfair work hours, lack of sanitation facilities, and the non-payment of salaries for employees across the television and film industry. However, the protest has received no support from the other major employee body, Cine and Television Artistes' Association (CINTAA).

Speaking to Cinestaan.com, actor Sushant Singh, general secretary of CINTAA, said, "We have been raising issues for a long time now, they were the ones who never took action over it. Now you think if you strike for four days, everyone will accept the decision on the fifth day. It is a silly thing. If workers had truly believed in their leadership, then they would not have gone back on the sets. It is because they don't trust the leadership (of the FWICE) that they returned to the sets. They have only weakened the federation further."

Singh also slammed the leadership of the FWICE saying that they have not undertaken any dialogue with the producers' body.

Singh said, "The dialogue has not taken place at all. The leadership of this Federation has not committed to any dialogue at all. For the last 2 years, they have been telling the workers one thing, they tell the producers another thing. No one really knows what the negotiations were. There has been no report submitted. When you don't know what was decided, how can you take or plan for the next step?"

This statement is against the claims made by Birendra Nath Tiwari, president of FWICE in an exclusive telephone interview with Cinetsaan.com. Nath had said that FWICE had discussed the issues with the producers in the first week of July.  

CINTAA has assured that the needs of the film workers will be taken up by them. Demands such as 8-hour shifts, regular and timely payment of dues, insurance, and medical facilities have been put forward to producer bodies and broadcasters since the last two years," Singh said.

The employee's body is approaching the central government as well. "We are going to give a comparitive analysis about how film employees around the world are treated, and what facilities are available in India. Our labour minister has introduced a new labour law, and we are writing a letter to him as well, asking to include the film and television workers in this sector," Singh said.

He also claimed that going on a strike will not bring a solution, saying, "The issues of non-payment are maximum in this industry. Cinema is one of the largest disorganised sectors. Unless there is a law by the central government, nothing is likely to happen...You strike here, the producer simply moves his set to Delhi, or Gujarat. We can't follow them everywhere and strike. These agitations are not the solution, they should be the last resort."

The Association had, earlier today, released a press release deriding the 'vulgar' language used by the FWICE protestors, and refused to support the strike.

Cinestaan.com tried to contact Tiwari again, but he was unable to comment.

However, a new press release from the FWICE emphasized that more than 25,000 employees are protesting outside the gates of Film City today, wearing their protest boards, and sloganeering against Ekta Kapoor, JD Majethia, and other producers.

The FWICE has not yet announced an end date to the strike and suggested that it might carry on till the 'demands are met'.