KOCHI: Malayalam film industry is headed for yet another crisis with the producers deciding to stop all projects from January 1, following a tiff with the technicians’ federation that demanded 33.5 percent increase in daily wages for a section of the lowest paid technicians in the industry.
A meeting of the Kerala Film Producers Association (KFPA) held here on Tuesday dismissed the demand for 33.5 per cent pay hike by the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) for technicians including light boys, camera assistants and costume assistants, among others.
The producers also decided to freeze new projects, which would affect nearly 10 films that are scheduled to begin in the new year.
The tiff between the KFPA and the FEFKA began after a three-year contract on wages between the two organisations ended on September 14. FEFKA general secretary B Unnikrishnan said at a press conference here on Tuesday that the federation repeatedly contacted the producers regarding the revision of wages but the response from the KFPA was lukewarm.
“A 33.5 per cent raise in daily wages to these poorly paid technicians will not escalate the production cost as it comes just above `4 lakh additional burden a month, which is negligible when considering the huge budget of projects.
“It will not come near the cost of a caravan! Moreover, these technicians work hard for more than 16 hours a day for the project and their actual labour can never be compensated with the paltry hike,” the FEFKA general secretary said.
“At a discussion held on 19 December, the FEFKA representatives had insisted on 33.5 per cent which was not acceptable to us. We requested them to scale down or continue the status quo till December 29,” said Kalliyoor Sasi, joint secretary of KFPA. But the producers allege that the technicians exacted 33.5 per cent increase in wages. Now the producers want the technicians to return the money they received since December 19.