No pay, no work strike at Mu­vhango

Sunday World - - News - NG­WAKO MALATJI Mu­vhango Mu­vhango

PRO­DUC­TION at

stu­dios al­legedly came to a stand­still for four days as an­gry ac­tors and sup­port staff downed tools on Mon­day after their salaries were not paid.

Pro­duc­tion com­pany Word of Mouth Pic­tures, owned by Duma Ndlovu, failed to pay the crew their Septem­ber salaries last Fri­day.

Sun­day World was told that ac­tors and staff in­clud­ing make-up artists, scriptwrit­ers, wardrobe man­agers and cam­era­men em­barked on a stay­away from Mon­day to Thurs­day and re­fused to shoot all the up­com­ing episodes un­less their salaries were im­me­di­ately paid.

Ndlovu re­pu­di­ate claims of a strike, say­ing the com­pany had sent cast mem­bers text mes­sages telling them not to come to work be­cause there was no money to pay them.

Our con­tract with the SABC ex­pired in Au­gust, and with­out a new con­tract there is no money to pay ac­tors. I have said this be­fore. I still don’t have a new con­tract,” said Ndlovu.

He said the SABC gave him a let­ter com­mit­ting to sign the new con­tract by the end of this month. He then took the let­ter to his bank which gave him funds to pay the ac­tors.

I have paid all my ac­tors. We sent them SMS mes­sages again telling them that they can come to work. There was no strike,” Ndlovu said.

Sources at the soapie, how­ever, said the crew only re­turned to work on Thurs­day after for­mer SABC chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng made spe­cial ar­range­ments for the ac­tors to be paid.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago re­fused to com­ment on this say­ing: This has noth­ing to do with the SABC be­cause we are not re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing ac­tors’ salaries.

Their em­ployer, which is Word of Mouth Pic­tures, is re­spon­si­ble for that. So, that is a mat­ter be­tween an em­ployee and em­ployer and must be sorted out by the two of them.”

Three cast mem­bers con­firmed they had em­barked on a strike on Mon­day.

A cast mem­ber, who re­fused to be named for fear of reprisal, said lead ac­tress Sindi Dlathu was the first to storm out of the studio and left for home after protest­ing about the non­pay­ment of her salary.

She asked the pro­duc­ers why she didn’t get her Septem­ber salary and all of them didn’t say any­thing. I think she thought she was the only one who was not paid and wanted some ex­pla­na­tion from them.

But when other ac­tors told her that they too were not paid she stormed out and left and the rest of the ac­tors fol­lowed suit.”

An­other mem­ber lam­basted Ndlovu for their calamity. This is hap­pen­ing for the third or fourth time now. So Word of Mouth lives from hand-to­mouth? Why can’t Duma cre­ate re­serves so that he can pay salaries when there is a de­lay?” Ndlovu, how­ever, said

could not con­tinue pro­duc­tion with­out a con­tract from the SABC, as the soapie is pro­duced ex­clu­sively for the pub­lic broad­caster.

He said crew mem­bers would get their new con­tracts once the SABC had signed on the dot­ted line.

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