Film industry union calls off strike

Hours after going on an indefinite strike over a conflict between the recognised labour unions in Bollywood and their rival group, the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) called it off Wednesday evening.

The strike call was reportedly given after officers from the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) police station arrested five FWICE members on charges of assaulting the Registrar of Trade Unions Tuesday but released them on bail in the evening. FWICE is a film industry workers union.

The registrar was said to have colluded with a rival trade union faction, headed by Gangeshwar Shrivastav, to lodge a false police complaint. Prem Singh Thakur, chairman, Film Studios Setting and Allied Mazdoor Union, earlier in the day told IANS: “Gangeshwar Shrivastav has been giving a tough time to all of us. Yesterday, when we went to the trade union office to present our case, Gangeshwar was already sitting there and he started abusing us, which ended up in a fight.”

“He then filed a false complaint against us. Now it’s enough. We are not going to tolerate this anymore.” The strike was thus called to ensure that the matter was taken seriously and reached a conclusion, he added. Thakur reiterated that Shrivastav and his associates were expelled from FWICE on charges of corruption and criminal intimidation. Shrivastav was a former general secretary of the Allied Mazdoor Union.

READ: FWICE calls for an ‘indefinite strike’ of the film industry from February 11

In the evening, the decision to call off the strike was taken following a meeting of FWICE with the union members. Shooting of films and TV shows had come to a standstill as FWICE called for the strike earlier in the day. “Yes, we have decided to call off the strike and the shoots have been started from today evening,” Khalid Khan, advisory chairman of Allied Mazdoor Union told IANS.

“We have put forth our demands and we hope the government will take care of it and take Gangeshwarlal Shrivastava’s case seriously.” “It was a mutual decision of all of us. We don’t want the producers and directors to suffer because of the strike,” he added. The FWICE, along with the support of the producers bodies, wants an independent inquiry into the incident from the chief minister.

A delegation, comprising members from across sections of the industry, will meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the home ministry portfolio, and the police commissioner and apprise them of the events and their expectations from the government. Though the FWICE called off the strike following requests from the producers’ bodies, it warned that it would not hesitate to strike again if the culprits were not exposed and brought to book.

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