The Tamil film industry has come to a standstill ever since the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) called for an indefinite strike last Friday. The standoff which is likely to continue for two more days, has affected the work of over 40 films.
FEFSI is clear on their stand and demand, it is up to the Tamil Film Producers’ Council (TFPC) now, says Swaminathan, treasurer of FEFSI.
“FEFSI had made all its demand very clear in the meeting that was held last Sunday. They (TFPC) asked for time to discuss with the other council members and get back to us. They were supposed to hold a meeting but that didn’t happen yesterday. It may happen today and after their meeting, depending on their decision, we will take a call on the strike,” he told Silverscreen.
“We are waiting for an agreement book to be ready which will take a couple of more days. It is the agreement that FEFSI and TFPC have been maintaining for all these years. With a few minor changes, TFPC has agreed to submit the agreement. Unless that is signed and we receive it, we can’t call off the strike,” said Angamuthu Shanmugam, general secretary.
On Wednesday, there was a FEFSI general body meeting, in which they decided to remove the technician union permanently from FEFSI. The technician union was temporarily removed earlier as they only instigated the strike by stalling shootings and not informing FEFSI about the issue. Now, they have been permanently removed from the FEFSI umbrella.
Meanwhile, Vishal in an interview to Dhina Thanthi, said, “Producers are investing a lot of money in a shoot. We cannot permit FEFSI to carry out an indefinite strike. Talks are on and the issue will be sorted out in a couple of days.”
FEFSI led by president RK Selvamani has been fighting for better pay for the union members. Many have commented that instead of reducing the daily wages of the workers why can’t the actors take a pay cut. Vishal said, “Only producers keep on increasing the actor’s salary without knowing their actual market value. We have to bring a transparent ticketing system and the collection records from the theatres so that an actor’s worth in the market can be ascertained and the producers can fix their salary based on this.”
Selvamani told the media on Monday that though the talks are heading in the positive direction, they are determined not to call off the strike this time unless their demands are met.
One of FEFSI’s major demands is TFPC should agree to work only with FEFSI workers. But the council’s only policy was that they won’t work with FEFSI workers alone.