The fight continues for staff at Picturehouse cinemas, who are demanding the living wage.
The Living Staff Living Wage campaign began in 2014 when union members at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton won a 26% pay rise and an agreement to negotiate towards the Living Wage in June 2016. The company back-tracked on that agreement and refused to negotiate at all. As a result the Living Staff Living Wage campaign was revived. A series of strikes have taken place since September 2016 and the campaign continues. (Latest updated 9 August 2018).
Picturehouse staff are organising for:
- The official Living Wage in London, set by the Living Wage Foundation, of £10.20 an hour, with the outer London rate set at £8.75 an hour (latest Living Wage figures published November 2017).
- Recognition of the BECTU Sector of Prospect at Picturehouse locations in Brighton (Duke of Yorks), Central London, Crouch End, East Dulwich and Hackney. (The union is recognised at the Ritxy in Brixton).
- Fair pay rises for supervisors, managers, chefs, sound technicians and projectionists
- Company sick pay for all staff
- Company maternity/paternity/adoption pay
In 2016 Cineworld (Picturehouse's parent company) posted profits of £93.8m, an 18.3% increase on the previous year, whilst CEO Mooky Greidinger earned over $2 million. The acquistion of the Regal chain in the US for £4.5bn in 2017 together with continued expansion and renovation in the UK and elsewhere, demonstrates that the issues staff face in their fight for the Living Wage do not reflect an inability to pay on behalf of the company. Two years after the commencement of further strikes and active campaigning, the company still refuses to engage with BECTU. Worse still, their hostility to the campaign influenced their decision to dismiss four BECTU representatives in June 2017. At the Employment Tribunals the company was found to have unfairly dismissed
the BECTU representatives, further damaging the company's reputation.
Ethical business, ethical treatment
Picturehouse pitch themselves as an ethical business. They host independent films and sell fair trade goods. All we ask is that they complete the package, act responsibilty and treat Picturehouse workers fairly. The union is also lobbying the BFI to cease use of Picturehouse venues
during the 2018 London Film Festival.