Can’t force film & TV producers to hire people from trade unions: CCI

NEW DELHI: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has struck down relevant sections in the agreements that various workers’ associations have with producers to only engage their members for projects. It called such a demand as anti-competitive and a violation of the Competition Act 2002.

This allows producers to freely hire workers, technicians, dancers, junior artists, from within or outside associations.

CCI chairperson Devendra Kumar Sikri and members S L Bunker, U C Nahta and Justice G P Mittal said: “The associations have used their position to disrupt competition and fair-play in the market through their anti-competitive conduct. Through the provisions of clause 6 and 18 of the MOU, the opposite parties (OPs) have indulged in anti-competitive conduct such as issuing non-cooperative directives, prohibiting hiring of specialised non-member, artists, conducting vigilance checks, stalling shoots for hiring non-members and levying of penalty. All this amounts to limiting and controlling the services in the western Indian film and television industry. Even after the expiry of the said MOU on 28 February 2015, the OPs have continued to enforce the anti-competitive clauses.”

The CCI has ordered the associations, which are the opposing parties, to cease and desist from continuing any unlawful practice such as visiting producer sets for vigilance. During inquiry by the director general of CCI, it was found that the shooting of various films and television serials had been stalled or delayed because of the ruckus created by the associations.

This long-awaited order arose from a complaint filed by film producer Vipul A Shah in 2014 against Federation of Western India Cine Employees and 24 other associations representing different categories of workers such as musicians, singers, cinematographers, lyricists, etc. He was supported by several film bodies such as the Film and Television Producers Guild of India, the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association, and Indian Film and TV Producers Council, Eastern India Motion Pictures Association, South India Film Chamber of Commerce, and Northern India Motion Pictures Association.

Shah is an independent film producer and director. As a director, he has directed various films like Aankhen (2002), Waqt (2005), Namastey London (2007) and London Dreams (2009), and as a film producer, he has produced several films like Singh is King (2008), Force (2011), Commando (2013) and Holiday (2014).

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