Nearly 14,000 workers of Telugu film industry went on strike from today, Thursday November 27, demanding more pay among others.
Representing 24 crafts of Telugu filmdom, they went on strike in Hyderabad protesting low wages and unfair employment opportunities, especially allowing non-federation members to work in films.
The move has brought to standstill many shooting schedules of star-studded films in the pipeline, including those of Mahesh Babu, Junior NTR and Prabhas.
While the workers have been demanding a raise in their wages over the last few months, they are upset with the decision by the producers to hire the services of anyone to work in their films, even if they are not members of the Andhra Pradesh Film Industry Employees Federation.
“This is unacceptable. We pay money to get registered into the federation. How can the producers hire the services of those who are not even members of the federation? We strongly condemn this and we can’t compromise, come what may,” a member of the federation told IANS.
But T. Prasanna, secretary of Producers Council, said it should be the talent over membership of the federation for employment. “A producer is free to hire anyone he wishes. It’s talent that matters at the end of the day. How does it matter where does it come from? They can’t force us to choose workers from the federation. That’s unfair,” he said.
The Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce recently announced 32% increase in wages but its exemption to low-budget film from compliance has peeved the workers. “If it’s a low-budget film, will we work less? Same amount of work is extracted from us, irrespective of the budget of a film. In that case, how can there be a difference in wages,” one member asked.
The strike may affect the shooting of natonal films also as Andhra Pradesh Film Industry Employees Federation has alerted its national body — the All India Film Employees Confederation (AIFEC) to not allow shooting anywhere else in the country during the strike period.
Since many Hindi films are shot in Hyderabad, they too may face boycott of work or delay in schedules.
(With inputs from IANS)