Pune, October 17, 2019: Approximately 173 members of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) staff, who are under third party pay-roll contracts have not been paid on time for the last four months, alleged FTII Students’ Association in a press release today.
It further stated, “In the month of July, a new contractor ‘M/S. Orion Security Solution Pvt. Ltd.’, a Delhi-based company was awarded the contract. The staff was informed that they will be paid within 7th to 10th of every month. The first salary in this year was paid on the 22nd of August, 15 days late, and on the 20th of September, 13 days late. The contractual staff sent a letter to the administration complaining about this issue on the 16th of September, after which they went on protest for 3 days. Again today, they had to stop work because their salary for September hasn’t been credited to their respective bank accounts either.
When the ‘M/S. Orion Security Solutions Pvt. Ltd.’ was appointed, the staff was kept in the dark about the contract between FTII and M/S. Orion Security Solutions Pvt. Ltd. The contractor is never available for a dialogue even after the multiple attempts made by these contractual employees to contact them. Recently, one of these contractual employees who wished to remain anonymous went to the Acting Registrar of FTII to ask for the salary because of some personal issue for which he urgently required the money that was legally due to him. He was told that the administration is not responsible for non-payment of salaries to any of the contractual employees as they were on contract and they are not employees of FTII. When questioned about the contract and their salary, the administration responds with threats to terminate their contract leaving them jobless.
The previous agency that had the contract ‘M/S. Sigma Tech Infra Pvt. Ltd.’ have still not paid the provident fund that was due at the end of their contracts. An entire year’s worth of provident fund has remained unpaid to these contractual employees. A severe reduction in overtime has occurred i.e. from Rs. 156 per hour has been reduced to Rs. 87 per hour. Even this reduced figure hasn’t been paid for over 3 months now.
“Due to all these issues, the staff has been forced to stop work and protest against such inhumane conditions. Due to these stoppages in work, the student practical classes and exercises take a hit. When confronted with this fact by the FTII student association, Mr. Bhupendra Kainthola, the present Director of FTII, said that this doesn’t concern him. Being the Director of this institution, it is his direct responsibility to ensure its smooth functioning. The ongoing student diploma and/ or dialogue films which are being shot or about to go on the floor would be largely affected resulting in a possible delay and directly affecting the students.”
The contractual employees simply demand for a dialogue between the FTII administration and their current contractor i.e. ‘M/S. Orion Security Solutions Pvt. Ltd’ in their presence at the earliest. “They have stopped going for work for an indefinite time period under the current circumstances and even if they are paid their respective salaries at the moment, they have declared that they, the contractual employees, won’t go back to work until all the aforesaid demands are met. In recent months, multiple press releases have been issued by the FTII Students’ Body because of incompetence of the administration and other authorities in FTII. While the students still have a considerable voice, the hard work and labor done by these contractual employees are the reason they are able to complete their practical classes and exercises. Without carpenters and painters, light-men, drivers and production managers inter alia, a shoot will not go on floor. These contractual employees are the life and blood of this institute, and they are being betrayed by the very authority that they place their trust in.”
Note : This report will be updated after getting response from FTII director.