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FEFSI announces indefinite strike again, film shoots halted in Tamil Nadu

According to FEFSI, the strike will continue till the producers take back their decision to recruit professionals.

Vishal Krishna, RK Selvamani

Manigandan KR

Film shooting is expected to come to a grinding halt in Tamil Nadu as one of the most powerful film bodies, the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI), has announced an indefinite strike from today. 

FEFSI, which is a federation of 24 film craft unions, chose to go on strike to protest the move by the Tamil Film Producers' Council (TFPC) to recruit fresh professionals in all the different film crafts.

Talking to reporters, the FEFSI 's president RK Selvamani, after attending a general body meeting of FEFSI said, "The reason why the Tamil film industry is so highly rated in India is because of the talented techinicians of the FEFSI. We, in the FEFSI, have given up several benefits for the sake of the well being of the Tamil film industry. We have also stood by the Producers' Council whenever they have had to face probems. However, we fear that the recent actions and decisions of the producer council are aimed at destroying the FEFSI. The TFPC has issued an advertisement in which it has said that it is to recruit fresh technicians (who will be competitors to FEFSI)."

Selvamani raised concerns that the members of the Federation will lose more work due to TFPC's recruitment spree. "When there is no work for those present already, hiring new people will only result in confusion. It pains us to know of their efforts to create another body to compete with FEFSI. To protest this move of the Producers' Council, we will be going on an indefinite strike from today," he said.

The director went on to add, "No local or foreign shooting will happen. All technical work will also be stopped. This strike will continue till the producers take back their decision to recruit professionals to compete with us."

Selvamani also said that the FEFSI leaders had plans to call on the chief minister and the minister for labour welfare in this regard. The film director also said that they would stage an agitation on 5 September at Valluvar Kottam, in protest against TFPC's decision.

The FEFSI and the TFPC have been at loggerheads for quite a few days now over wages and the general rules of operation during film shoots.

Earlier this year, the FEFSI had chosen to go on strike after the TFPC announced to all its members that they could work with whoever they wanted in their films and not necessarily confine themselves to working only with those technicians registered with FEFSI.

However, the strike was withdrawn after several appeals came in from the film industry including one from Superstar Rajinikanth.

Selvamani said, "Superstar Rajinikanth had urged us to withdraw the strike the last time we went on a protest. We had obliged. But this time, we have no other option but to go on strike. For this, we apologize to him and to other new film producers. We have no choice. This is a struggle to establish the rights of FEFSI workers."

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