Workers due to return to studios on Saturday
A three-day-old strike in Bollywood, home to Mumbai showbiz, ended with the two sides settling Friday.Dinesh Chaturvedi, general secretary of the Federation of Western Cine Employees, said workers were due to return to the studios on Saturday. The producers have agreed to pay employees within 15 days of work being completed, to limit working hours to 12 a day and to use union labor only. “The workers have faith in the producers,” Chaturvedi told wire service AFP. “Now it’s up to the producers to have faith in workers.” Sushma Shiromanee, VP of the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Assn., told the BBC, “The strike is over. We have agreed to the same demands as on the earlier memorandum of understanding.” The two sides had signed a pact in January, but the federation, which reps 22 unions covering below-the-line workers, including extras, dancers, carpenters, grips, gaffers and camera operators, had complained that producers had reneged. The federation claimed some of its members were owed months of pay, worked 20-hour days and were fired if they complained and replaced with non-union workers. TV productions were hardest hit by the strike, as they didn’t have a backlog of the popular daily soaps that fill India’s burgeoning cable biz. But films prepping for the prime moviegoing period at the end of October were affected, as productions at studios including Yash Raj, Filmistan and Mehboob wound down. UTV’s Siddharth Kapur told Daily Variety even before news of the settlement came that he expected a quick resolution. “This is not a beneficial situation for either side,” Kapur said.