Take 5: ‘Will have to wait till the next payment cycle to see if things have improved’

A stand-off between Bengali TV artistes and producers ended after CM Mamata Banerjee stepped in. Ghosh hopes the situation will change.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury | Published: September 16, 2018 12:35:19 am
Debdut Ghosh, 44, Bengali television actor. Debdut Ghosh, 44, Bengali television actor.

1) What led to the stand-off?

We wanted producers to make payments by the 15th of every month, and clear all dues by October 7. But instead, on August 17, while I was with 20 others on the sets of Sri Chaitanya for a shoot, we were informed that a section of television producers had called a strike. That is when actors, including myself, insisted on getting our payments by 4 pm the same day. This led to the impasse and shoots were stalled.

2) How long has the problem of late-payments persisted?

The issue of late payment has been going on for the past three-four months. The remuneration for actors is fixed after talks with producers, and it varies for different artistes. For 30 days of work, we get paid on the 15th of the next month. For technicians, there is a fixed ‘rate chart’. They get their payments every 11-12 days.

3) Several artistes have complained about working hours as well.

We told the producers that artistes and technicians must work only for 10 hours a day. We also urged them to allot shifts between 6 am and 10 pm. And, artistes who work for more than 10 hours should be paid for the overtime on a pro-rata basis. However, the producers were reluctant to pay for the overtime.

4) Have the producers made the payments?

Most producers who called the strike have accepted our demands. About 80 per cent of the payments have been made following the CM’s intervention.

5) Has the situation improved?

It is too early to say. We have to wait until the next payment cycle. Artistes, directors and technicians are working together. We hardly meet the producers.

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