The Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI) has commenced its strike on Saturday (April 7). FEFSI general secretary Shiva announced this. He said their next step would depend on the producers response. 'No employee would go to work. It is our life and death problem,' he asserted.
The strike is in support of the demand for an increase in wages for the film industry employees. The talks between FEFSI and the Producers Council in the last few months have failed. The issue was then taken to the Government and the Labour Welfare Board also could not bring about any settlement.
Following the strike announcement, those shooting films outside Tamil Nadu have returned to Chennai and those planning their shootings have cancelled them. Industry circles express fears that film production would badly hit resulting in losses running to crores of rupees.
Producers are looking at the option of employing those willing to work. Producers Muralidharan, T. Siva, Gnanavelraja, Bose and others, led by Producers Council secretary P.L. Thenappan, met DGP Ramajujam on April 6 and submitted a memorandum seeking police protection.
Later, Thenappan told mediapersons that FEFSI's decision to go on strike was unilateral, and producers would incur heavy losses. There was a court order permitting producers to employ anyone. So, shooting of films, including Karthi-starrer 'Alex Pandian', Bharathiraja's 'Annaikodiyum Kodaiveeranum' and Karuna's 'Ragalaipuram' would be resumed from April 7.
Film artistes are also in a bind. Because of the position taken by FEFSI, the actors could neither work on films they have already signed on nor give dates for new films. They are a confused lot.