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2,50,000 cine workers to go on indefinite strike from 15 August

The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) claims that the workers do not get payments even after 90 days.

Picture used for representational purposes only

Our Correspondent

The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) has called for an indefinite strike of cine workers to address the pending demands of various issues with producers.

The strike will see employees such as spot-boys, junior artistes, and workers on film sets and the television industry, under the umbrella of the FWICE, abstain from work.

Speaking to, Birendra Nath Tiwari, President of FWICE, said, "We informed the producers about the decision (to strike) on 1 August. We sat down with the producers and the channels in the first week of July, but they did not accept our terms. We had mutually agreed to some terms in 2015, but they declined it. We took the issue to court on 31 July, and later, took the decision to go on strike. There was a 14 day notice that we gave the producers, before going on strike. So we have taken all the processes legally."

He also added that the strike is largely against television channels and Indian Film and Television Producers' Council (IFTPC), saying, "This strike is against the terms refused by the major channels like Star, Sony, Zee Tv.. and IFTPC, which is the film and telelvision council. The complete film industry, serials, ads and reality show post production employees, dubbing, sound recording and editing will be affected."

However, Tiwari added that he has the support of the industry's stars like Nana Patekar, Suniel Shetty and also suggested that he plans to meet actor Amitabh Bachchan, whose Kaun Banega Crorepati might be severely affected by this strike.

Tiwari stated that the Federation had demanded employees be given regular timings on 8 hour shifts, clean sanitation facilities, and life insurance.

Apart from workers not receiving payments on time, which are sometimes delayed for 2-3 months, the Federation has demanded that the producer body allocate a stipulated insurance amount as life cover for workers who die on the sets.

However, the producer body has denied these conditions. "You will be surprised that there are not enough bathrooms on sets. 80-90 people use a single bathroom, ladies-gents. You cannot imagine how they work. Food is cooked right alongside the bathrooms. You look at the sets, grand, and they have no bathrooms," Tiwari said.

The strike is likely to affect several film projects underway. These include Shah Rukh Khan's upcoming untitled project with Aanand L Rai and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmavati.

Tiwari concluded the interview stressing on the importance of the fight, "Films are India's identity in the world, and we are working to get these workers the basic rights."

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