Help! I haven’t been paid

July 17, 2009

This was going to be a blog on a totally different topic, but Facebook changed it all.

A friend pointed out to a group on the social networking site which lists Indian media companies that refuse to pay people on time.

Named “Blacklist” and started by stylist Sapna Bhavnani, the group is full of complaints and horror stories of companies holding back payments for months together.
“Instead of paying huge and irrelevant amounts to stars, why don’t these producers pay their technicians,” reads a message on the group wall.

‘Blacklist’ has more than 2,500 members, all of whom have presumably been at the receiving end.

Increasingly, India’s media industry is being viewed as a booming, thriving sector, where corporate culture is making every process streamlined and transparent. Bollywood alone is a multi-million dollar industry, so is Indian television.

And yet, there have always been stories of non-payment of dues, or artists being asked to leave midway through a shoot. If you have any connection with this industry, you are bound to hear these tales.

The industry has seen two strikes in the last six months alone, and I would say the reason for both is basic lack of structure and transparency that plagues one of the most creative industries in the world.

The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) estimates its membership to be around 45,000 but the number of people who work in this industry must be far more.

If the same thing happened in corporate or government office, things would be different. Why isn’t it the same in the creative field?

Surely it isn’t much to ask to be paid on time for services rendered. What do you think is the solution?


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Its not the case with film and tv industry only. If we sneak into the corporate world which you guys have mentioned as “transparent” you will find it is also not that transparent. The rule books these companies follow are always designed keeping the employer at the centre.The employee while in the job never dares to raise voice against discrimination because of fear of loosing it and if already out of job he doesnt have the time and money required to do so. Thats why most of the incidents go unreported.

What i feel is that there should be an single point of contact for such cases. And that could be an government organization working on fast track. I mean something similar to consumer courts which should ensure justice at a fast pace and also without paying hefty amounts to lawyers. It will not only help the suffering working class but will also pressurise the employers to improve their standards in a positive manner.

Posted by Prashant | Report as abusive

Good Comment Prashant,

Most of the companies are paying only for the people in the highest level, I mean, the people who are more close to the public. Those who work behind the screen are simply avoided, because only less number of people wants to know about them.

Posted by Azhar Ahamed – Indian Blogger | Report as abusive