Over four lakh cine workers are set to get better health and retirement benefits with the labour ministry expected to crack down on film and television production houses that employ these artistes.
The Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) along with various Cine Workers Unions and All India Film Employees Confederation plan to carry out joint surveys of all production houses in order to extend such benefits to all eligible employee.
We are actively working on this issue as many of these workers do not get social security benefits despite being eligible for them. We hope to finish the surveys by the end of next month, a labour ministry official said.
At present,cine workers including actors,musicians,cameramen,light boys,electricians,carpenters,fighters and stunt men,dancers,dressers and makeup men whose monthly remuneration is less than Rs 8,000 or who draw a lump sum remuneration not exceeding Rs 1 lakh are covered by the Cine Workers Welfare Fund Act-1981,and the Cine Workers Welfare Cess Act-1981.
The Acts mandate that every producer of a feature film must deposit a cess fees for the labour ministry run- Cine Workers Welfare Fund that provides social security benefits as well as facilities such as free medical treatment for any fatal disease,educational loans to eligible workers.
The move follows a meeting of the labour minsiter Mallikarjun Kharge with representatives of the Central Advisory Committee on Cine Workers Welfare Fund who have been pointing out since last year that production houses may be employing workers on a contractual basis in order to dodge paying the cess. Consequently,many of the cine workers would not be getting the social security benefits.