BECTU's involvement with cinema dates back to the start of cinema exhibition in the UK.
BECTU helps its cinema members with positive and negative issues at work Pic: Stefano Cagnoni
The union has tracked developments in the sector through numerous mergers, the arrival of the multi-screen and changes to independent exhibition.
The challenge for the projectionist
The role of the cinema projectionist has withstood major review, particularly in the past 30 years. Now the biggest change of all is in underway as investment in digital projection presents the most radical challenge.
What role for the projectionist as digital projection takes hold? This question is one which our reps are tackling.
We have an opportunity to help to design their future role and we look to projectionists nationwide to play an active part in securing their future
Talks involving the Cinema Exhibitors' Association and the Apollo, Cineworld and
Empire chains have begun to identify how the projectionist's (or technician's) role might evolve further to ensure that skilled jobs, in high numbers, go hand in hand with modern exhibition.
Mick Corfield, national official, explains the initiative:
"Companies know the price of a digital projector and this may obscure the value they attach to their projectionists.
It is BECTU's job to make sure that projectionists continue to be at the centre of the cinema sector.
"We have an opportunity to help to design their future role and we look to projectionists nationwide to play an active part in securing their future."
Talks about the impact of digital projection will continue in 2010 and BECTU has invited more circuits to join the debate. For more information about the union's digital initiative contact Mick Corfield, national official.
Front of house too
Front of house staff have experienced changes too over the years. Emphasis on customer service, sales strategy and the need for diverse programming have all impacted on front of house roles. High turnover and casualisation have not lessened BECTU's commitment to supporting these staff.
From December 2009, BECTU has collective bargaining rights for projectionists employed by the Apollo, Cineworld and Odeon circuits; the union also provides one- to-one support for front of house staff at these venues.
Staff at the Empire, Showcase and Vue chains, as well as at the smaller independent venues, can also take advantage of the services and support available through BECTU.