Malayalam film body threatens to go on strike

April 29th, 2009 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, April 29 (IANS) A Malayalam film technicians’ body Wednesday threatened to go on strike to protest what they call the “callous attitude” of the movie producers association on discussion of workers wages.
The Malayalam Cine Technicians Association (MACTA), that includes 19 organisations representing people associated with the industry ranging from spot boys, drivers, technicians to directors, has found support of the Communist Party of India (CPI) controlled All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC).

AITUC state secretary Kanam Rajendran Wednesday said: “Today is the third time that the Producers Association has shied away from taking part in a meeting called by the state labour department to discuss the salaries and wages of film industry workers.”

“Since they did not take part we will serve them a notice of strike, which can take place any time after 14 days,” Rajendran, who is also a CPI leader, told reporters here.

Trouble has been brewing in the industry ever since the MACTA, headed by film director Vinayan, split last year and a new powerful group called Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) was formed.

The FEFKA includes big time directors like Joshi, I.V. Sasi, Siddique, Lal, Sathyan Anthicad, Renjith and Renji Panicker. FEFKA also has the blessings of the most influential Malayalam film body - the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA), while MACTA is affiliated to the AITUC.

Vinayan, who was also present at the press conference, said: “We are not against superstars in the Malayalam film industry. What we want is a reasonable pay for people like drivers, production boys etc. The Producers Association has been keeping away from meetings since November last year. We will go to any extent to see that the rights of workers are protected.”

MACTA has accused film stars Mammootty and Dileep of using their influence as leading actors in the industry and scuttling their projects and ensuring that its members do not get work.

The Malayalam film industry does business worth over Rs.150 crore (Rs.1.5 billion) and more than 30,000 families are dependent on the industry.

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