Chennai: Members of the Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI), a Trade Body that represents various Labour unions in the Industry, created a tense situation on the sets of BiggBoss Tamil at EVP Estate, located in outskirts of Chennai.
On 15th July around 12 noon, as many as 60 members of the union barged in to the sets of BigBoss Tamil, without any prior notification to the producers of the show Endemol Shine India. According to the industry sources, FEFSI office bearers entered the shoot location on a Saturday, when actor Kamal – the show host was shooting the weekend episodes.
Apparently, the members demanded Endemol Shine India to employ more workers even though the company had sufficiently employing more than 100 workers on various departments of production of the show.
According to the agreement between STEPS, the trade body that represents the TV Producers in Tamil Nadu, and FEFSI, no one should go to a shooting location and act in a manner of disturbing the shooting process of a program. Whereas, in case of this incident, FEFSI members barged inside the shooting spot of BiggBoss Tamil without any prior notification and even tried to trespass the restricted area of BiggBoss House without realizing the seriousness that it would have jeopardized the natural flow of the show.
Sources from Endemol Shine India reveal that the top management of the company is extremely unhappy with the unruly behavior of FEFSI members and failure of the office bearers of FEFSI in controlling their staff. It also signals that the incident has raised questions on the future seasons of BiggBoss Tamil being shot in Chennai as they can conveniently exploit their Bangalore or Mumbai sets in future.
The incident also brought to light the fact that FEFSI is not abiding by their agreement with Tamil TV Producers body – STEPS. During many occasion in the past, FEFSI was accused of holding the TV producers for ransom by resorting to last minute strikes. The compelling situation of TV producers to submit their episodes to the channels on daily basis forced them to surrender in many occasions.
A comparison on wages of TV workers in Chennai with other markets in South reveals that the FEFSI members in Chennai are being paid at least 30% to 40% higher than other markets. Moreover, the TV Producers have extended more than 150% hike in wages during the past 10 years against a paltry increase of 25% to 30% on their commissioned production cost from TV Channels. This scenario has created a huge stress on the TV Producers forcing them to work on a very thin margin of 4% to 8% with a constant threat of their show being winded up any time after the initial 65 episodes against the average breakeven range falling beyond 200th episode.