Second Sunday ‘rest day’ for TV industry

The current scenario in the TV industry is such that all associated, whether it be the technicians, workers toiling behind the camera, or the actors doing their job in front of the camera, are subjected to non-stop work, every day for more than 16 hours. Deprived of proper sleep, at times proper food and even private time with family, the people concerned toil for the entire TV viewing fraternity day in and day out.
Considering issues related to health and stress, the FWICE (Federation of Western India Cine Employees) had sent out a circular dated 4 February 2016 to all its affiliates stating, “From 1 April onwards, every second Sunday of the month will be a compulsory holiday for all members. Being the second Sunday, 10 April (tomorrow) will be a holiday. Please do not consider this a strike, as is being claimed by some people with ulterior motives. Enjoy your well deserved holiday. Stay healthy. Stay happy.”
Wow!! So is this a welcome change for the hard-working lot?
In the wake of it, as the industry welcomed the new development of getting a hard-earned break every month, the IFTPC (The Indian Film and Television Producers Council) body seemed to be perturbed with the move, considering the strict deadlines they need to meet day in and day out to churn out content on time. talked to few renowned Producers to take their comment on the development.
Sunjoy Wadhwa, CMD, Sphereorigins who has successful shows like Balika Vadhu, Mere Angne Mein on air presently told us, “We are still discussing with the federation on the same.”
Suzana Ghai, who is presently producing shows Suhani Si Ek Ladki and Ishq Unplugged, said, “I feel while it is justified that the industry does need a break, we also have to realize the pressure we are all working under to deliver a telecast everyday and keep these shows running. I feel it is a bigger problem we need to solve, before we implement the decision.”
Accordingly, we heard that the Federation decided to meet all its affiliates to discuss on the issue earlier in the evening.
The outcome?
Well, we have learnt from our reliable sources that the ‘second Sunday off’ strategy will get into effect from tomorrow (10 April).
Sunil Sinha, Executive Committee Member, CINTAA told us, “Yes, the Federation sticks to its decision of having a compulsory break on the second Sunday of every month. This is brought into effect to give the workers an off on a regular basis. As per the Federation, there should not be any shoot on the second Sunday of every month. The workers toil for more than 16 hours every day and they need to get an off. The decision will get implemented from tomorrow.”
When we asked him about certain Producers being unhappy with the development, he said, “See, the Federation cannot dictate Producers to follow them. But the Federation has been speaking to their workers and telling them that it is for their own benefit. This is not a strike or a non-cooperation move taken.”
Given a scenario where the Producers continue to shoot tomorrow, what will be the solution, we asked Sunil. He averred, “This situation will be decided afterwards. From the Federation side, this goes into implementation from tomorrow. We will observe and see what happens. As of now, many producers have called off shoot tomorrow. However, we will take a call viewing the outcome of it post tomorrow.”
With this information, we buzzed few renowned Producers, and one of them on grounds of anonymity stated, “We have told the Federation that we are not supporting and will shoot tomorrow. We have informed our Producer members to shoot tomorrow.”
Also, a spokesperson from the IFTPC told us, “There are many industries that need to work 24/7 and ours is one of them. Their declaration of one fixed holiday is not possible and quite impractical. We give holidays in any case, and whoever is in urgent need to shoot tomorrow for deliveries of telecast will shoot.”
Amit Behl, Joint Secretary and Chairman of Dispute Committee, CINTAA, said, “As per the FWICE directive, we have to abide by the decision taken by the Federation.”
Well, we surely believe that this development will bring some semblance to the hectic and non-stop schedule of workers in the industry. However, considering the fact that few of the GECs have an extended schedule of seven days telecast of their soaps, it needs to be seen whether this ‘fixed holiday’ concept will help them or end up troubling more.
Is the ‘fixed holiday’ concept a boon or a bane for the industry? This topic will surely be debated and discussed in days to come.
And we as always, will keep a tab on the latest developments in this...