Film, TV shoots halt courtesy labour strike in Maharashtra

Shooting of films and TV shows came to a standstill here Wednesday after the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) called for an indefinite strike due to a conflict between the recognised labour unions in Bollywood and their rival group.

"Since today morning, there were no shoots - be it films or television. Now the meeting with the members of the union is going on and accordingly a decision will be taken," an official from Mumbai's expansive Film City, told IANS.

The 'indefinite strike' was reportedly called after officers from the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) police station arrested five FWICE members on charges of assaulting the Registrar of Trade Union Tuesday. However, they were released on bail the same evening.

The Registrar is said to have colluded with a rival trade union faction, which is headed by Gangeshwar Shrivastav, to lodge a false police complaint.

Prem Singh Thakur, chairman, Film Studios Setting and Allied Mazdoor Union, 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 is taken seriously and reaches a conclusion".

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

According to Khalid Khan, the advisory chairman of Allied Mazdoor Union, "Shrivastav is not ready to leave his position despite not being elected as the general secretary.

"He has been troubling many producers and has been creating a lot of problem. We are certain that there is some political party supporting him and we want the police to inquire about this case," Khan said.

A decision about the strike will be taken later Wednesday.

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