Nearly 300 daily wage workers halted work on OTT show Dharavi Bank following unpaid dues of almost a month, Ashok Dubey, General Secretary, Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) said on Wednesday. Dubey told that the workers were building the set of the Zee Studios backed series Dharavi Bank, starring Vivek Oberoi and Suniel Shetty, at the film city in suburban Goregaon. The work came to a halt on Tuesday afternoon. More than Rs 50 lakhs unpaid wages are yet to be cleared by the production house, Dubey claimed. The show will stream on MX Player.
Says Dubey, ”Nearly 300 workers are suffering due to an issue between the art director and the production house, Zee Studios. The workers haven’t been paid for almost a month now and finally stopped working yesterday. When I spoke to the production house, the representative informed me that they got the bill (from the art director) only yesterday, so they won’t be able to immediately transfer the money to the workers. The estimate pending payment is more than Rs 50 lakhs.
The workers are part of the Film Studios Setting and Allied Majdoor Union. According to Dubey, earlier the payments of workers would come to the union, which would then transfer to them. ”But as per the trade union guidelines, the workers are now required to be paid directly, which sometimes causes the issue. ”Production houses don’t have their details, account number… The workers also keep changing. This is a big set, so it came out in the open otherwise workers are facing these problems regularly.”
Dubey said Zee Studios has assured that the payment will be made, although with some delay. ”The production house said, since they don’t have details of all workers, they might directly pay the union, which then will transfer the funds. They aren’t denying that they won’t pay,” he added. According to Zee Studios spokesperson there is ”no question of payment delays”.
”The fact that there wasn’t any discipline of documentation from the crew employed. We actually raised the issues to the union and have told them to step in to close this issue. The pay-outs aren’t held up due to any wilful delay from Zee Studios,” the statement read.