Stand-off between rival Malayalam film bodies continues

May 1st, 2009 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi, May 1 (IANS) The tussle between two rival trade unions in the Malayalam film industry seems to have entered a deadlock over revised wages as both the bodies made it clear once again Friday that they will not go back on their earlier stand.
Trouble has been brewing in the industry ever since the Malayalam Cine Technicians Association (MACTA) split vertically last year and a new powerful group called Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) was formed.

The MACTA early this week threatened to go on strike to protest what they call the “callous attitude” of the movie producers association on discussion of workers wages. It sent a strike notice to the Producers Association saying they will not allow film shooting in the state after the third week of May unless the wages of the workers are hiked.

But FEFKA is geared up to intervene if MACTA workers will try to disrupt film shootings, similar to what happened on the sets of superstars Mammootty and Dileep’s movies last month.

“Close to 1,000 people from the three different sections of FEFKA attended the meeting here and it has now been proved beyond doubt that we have the numbers contrary to the claims made by MACTA,” B. Unnikrishnan, general secretary of FEFKA, told IANS.

He also added that revised wages had already been fixed a month back and it would be introduced from July 22.

But director Vinayan, who is MACTA president, brushed aside the revision of wages as claimed by FEFKA.

“Who are FEFKA to talk about wage revision - it has to come from the Producers Association. FEFKA is nothing but a body which owes its allegiance to the Producers Association. The root cause of all the trouble is the mafia controlled by the superstars and their henchmen. We will go to any extend if they try to deny work to our members,” said Vinayan.

MACTA includes 19 organisations which represent people associated with the industry ranging from spot boys, drivers, technicians to directors. MACTA is presently affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI)-led All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC).

The MACTA was the only body until last year when it split and FEFKA was formed.

While MACTA is led by director Vinayan and has a huge membership base, 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).

The Malayalam film industry does business worth over Rs.150 crores (Rs.1.5 billion) and more than 30,000 families are dependent on the filmdom. Now all eyes are on MACTA if they will go ahead with the strike.

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