India | Health and Safety for Bollywood workers: progress

Opender Chanana

On 28 and 29 November 2016, the final conference took place on the FIM, FIA and UNI-MEI joint project on Health and Safety in the Bollywood film industry (a project backed by Union To Union).

In the presence of a government counsellor, a poignant documentary by Opender Chanana was shown, highlighting the particularly difficult working conditions for industry workers.

A few representatives of studios which were more sensitive than their peers to these issues attended the conference to outline their efforts to enhance safety and comfort for staff employed on their premises. A fire brigade leader described the work of his unit to save lives and mentioned the political desire to enhance fire prevention.

Participants adopted a safety code based on international standards. Above all, this text is aimed at meeting the most urgent concerns regarding working hours, electrical safety, fire protection systems, hygiene and respect for privacy. The code will be communicated to workers concerned and could constitute a benchmark document for future negotiations with employers.

Participants adopted a safety code based on international standards

The conference listed changes that had occurred over the past four years:
– Health & Safety issues are now taken seriously by sector unions;
– Public authorities and some employers are gradually becoming aware of the need to invest in safety systems to deal with the too many fatal accidents that occur during shooting;
– The sector union movement is currently being restructured, driven by particularly dynamic groups of workers. This need to modernize could lead to re-evaluating the role of the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE);
– The three international federations have scheduled closer ties with foreign audiovisual and broadcasting producers linked to the Bollywood industry, with a view to seeing that they exercise careful control of the conditions of production concerning the films in which they invest.

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