Film workers’ strike called off

Mumbai, Oct 4 (IANS) A strike by Mumbai film industry workers seeking higher wages that disrupted cinema and television shooting has been called off, the strikers announced on Sunday.

The Federation of Western Indian Cine Employees (FWICE) ended the strike on Saturday midnight following talks with the producers’ association.

“The strike is off as of midnight,” FWICE president Kamlesh Pandey told IANS. The strikers were also demanding better working conditions.

The strike, which began early Saturday, effectively halted all shooting of Hindi movies and TV shows.

Taking part in the strike were thousands of industry workers — not including actors — who form a key part of a film and TV industry that churns out hundreds of Hindi movies and TV serials every year.

Screenplay writer Anjum Rajabali, a vocal member of Film Writers Association, said the strike ended following a “mutually acceptable equilibrium on the MoU” with the Producers’ Council.

The tussle between the Producers’ Association and FWICE has been going on since February when the MoU expired and both the parties couldn’t agree to a renewal.

Rajabali said “all the four big broadcasters (were brought) to the table to … confirm the settlement.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to flesh out the details in legalese. But all that seems doable,” he said.

He said there may be respite for screen writers as “what we have been struggling for, and what has caused so much frustration and heartburn, now seems on the verge of getting resolved”.

The strike affected the shooting of forthcoming film “Bajirao Mastani” and actor Aamir Khan’s movie “Dangal” in addition to several TV shows.

FWICE is the umbrella organisation of 22 associations including the Indian Film and Television Directors Association, Association of Film and TV Editors, Cine Costume and Make-up Artist and Hair Dresser Association as well as Film Writers Association.

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