The Kannada film industry plunged into a major crisis on Monday, with the Karnataka Film Workers, Artistes and Technicians’ Federation boycotting film production activity.
The future of 10 films under production now hangs in the balance. The decision is in protest against the resolution of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) to give recognition to a parallel film workers’ federation.
Speaking to The Hindu, president of the federation Ashok said that the decision was taken after the KFCC resolved to allow producers to choose either the 23-year-old federation or the recently formed parallel federation. KFCC president H.D. Gangaraju said that it had been decided to recognise the new federation as demanded by a section of producers. However, they had been given the option to choose either the “old” or the “new” federation depending on their convenience.
Describing the move as an attempt to break the unity of film workers, Mr. Ashok said that there was no option before the federation but to boycott production till the issue was resolved.
Describing the development as a “conspiracy” to curb workers’ rights, secretary of the federation Raveendranath said that the question of recognising the parallel federation cropped up when the Labour Department directed the producers to provide particulars of Employees State Insurance and Provident Fund.
The federation had been fighting for the rights of the workers and getting their wages revised every three years. In fact, the federation extended a helping hand when the industry and producers were in crisis. The present agreement between the KFCC and the federation on wage revision would end in August, Mr. Ashok said.
The police on Monday resorted to a mild lathi-charge when the film workers tried to take out a procession to the KFCC office in protest against the decision.