Cinema workers lead the way on Living Wage
Members at Picturehouse cinemas, owned by Cineworld, continue to press their management for the Living Wage (£9.75 an hour in London and £8.45 outside London as at 1 November 2016). The campaign, launched by members at Brixton's Ritzy cinema in 2014, entered its second phase in September 2016. Since that time workers at the Crouch End Picturehouse, Duke of York's Brighton, East Dulwich Picturehouse, Hackney Picturehouse and Picturehouse Central have joined The Ritzy in the fight, submitting claims for the living wage and for other improvements in key terms. By 18 March 2017 all six sites had staged strike action.
Union members at the Curzon circuit also staged a hard fought campaign for union recognition and the Living Wage; unlike Picturehouse, however, Curzon management listened, and the company had the honour of being the first cinema chain to pay the Living Wage.
BECTU helps its cinema members with a range of workplace issues. Pic: Stefano Cagnoni
BECTU's involvement with cinema dates back to the start of cinema exhibition in the UK
The union has tracked developments in the sector through numerous mergers, the arrival of the multi-screen and changes to independent exhibition.
Technical and front of house staff have experienced major changes. Digital projection has caused radical changes to the projectionist's role which has now evolved into one of general technical support. 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.
The union continues to provide collective bargaining support where recognition is in place and one-to-one backing for all members, including a raft of legal services. Find out more about Benefits & Services.
In January 2014, the union signed a collective bargaining agreement with Curzon Cinemas. Also in 2014, the Brixton Ritzy's long-running campaign for the London Living Wage went national, highlighting the fundamental injustices faced by low-paid workers at the Picturehouse group and beyond.
Last page update 30 July 2017.