GANDHINAGAR: Film workers and producers are locked in a tussle over a demand for revised pay. The Karnataka Film Workers Artists’ and Technicians’ Federation is unwilling to accept a pay structure sent by the Kannada Film Producers Association (KFPA) on Monday.
Light boys now get Rs 370 for a shift of 12 hours, and are demanding at least Rs 600.
The workers are refusing to work for producers not willing to pay revised rates. Films like Ranna, Mattomme Shhh and Godhi Banna Sadharna Maikattu are stalled because of the impasse within the industry.
About half a dozen films are going ahead, with the producers paying the revised pay. Among them is producer Sandesh Nagaraj’s Airavata.
The problem was discussed at a meeting that went on late into the night on Wednesday.
Thomas D’Souza, President, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, who chaired it, told City Express, “We want to come to an amicable settlement after discussing the problem with the two parties.”
Over the past three years, workers have been seeking a hike, but their demand has fallen on deaf ears, said Ravindranath, secretary of the Film Workers’ Union.
“The rates proposed by the producers’ association are not feasible. They expect workers to do a 12-hour shift from 7 am to 7 pm, which is against labour laws,” he said.
Since workers have to reach locations that are often not close to where they live, they will have to start from home at 4 am and return only by 10 pm, he explained.
The Workers Union had expected at least a 30 per cent hike but the producers are willing to give just a 10 per cent increase, said Ravindranath.
“We had requested Rs 600 a shift for light boys, who now get just Rs 370. Likewise, we wanted drivers to get at least Rs 500 a shift from 6 am to 6 pm,” he said.
He said workers were open to negotiation. After waiting for a pay hike for three years, they can’t just take home a 10 per cent hike, he said.
“We are unable to retain workers with the current pay. They are quitting because they are unable to run their households,” he said.
Producers may end up with no workers if they refuse to make the pay realistic, he warned. According to Ravindranath, with the revised payment structure, a filmmaker pays between Rs 60,000 to Rs 1 lakh more (for a stint of about 35 days shooting).
“In case it is a high budget film and our workers are required for 60 to 70 days, the cost will go up by just Rs 2 lakh,” he said.