October 2, 2008

Bollywood Goes on Strike

Nearly 150,000 workers in India's Bollywood film and television industry reportedly have gone on strike, forcing about 40 productions to grind to a halt.

Variety.com said members of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees, which represents a range of workers from extras and dancing girls to lighting technicians and camera operators, are staying away from work.

Their demands include on-time pay, a 12-hour maximum work day and improved safety considerations, the entertainment industry trade newspaper said.

Dinesh Chaturvedi, the union's general-secretary, said the workers earn about $10.45 a day for TV and $12.50 a day for film work, and have to wait 90 days after a shoot to be paid.

"The least producers can do is pay them on time," Chaturvedi told Variety. "We hope they do so; if they don't, this noncooperation movement will continue."

Ratan Jain, president of the Association of Motion Picture and TV Program Directors, said he hopes to meet with producers to discuss the work stoppage.

"The walkout was not in the interests of the industry as a whole. Many shoots have come to a halt, and ultimately, it will lead to losses for everyone. We can always sit down and talk to find a solution," Jain told Variety. "We are entering the festive season, and workers cannot afford to go on without earnings at this time."