12 September 2014

BECTU members at the Ritzy cinema have voted decisively to accept a pay deal which moves them closer to pay levels equivalent to the Living Wage.

In a ballot which closed today, Friday 12 September, members voted by 35 votes in favour, to 4 votes against to accept management's latest proposals on pay.

The vote brings to a conclusion a pay dispute centred on the Living Wage which has impacted not only on the members directly involved.

The Ritzy campaign has reached out across the UK speaking powerfully about fairness at work and the pressing need for employers to ease the burdens on low-paid workers by adopting the Living Wage. 

Phased pay increases

The agreement, which will now be implemented at the South London cinema, part of the Picturehouse group, provides for the following:

- 80p an hour supplement to be paid on time worked, holiday and sick pay; will also count towards pension contributions;

- Immediate rise from current £7.35 per hour to £8.00 per hour backdated to October 2013; supervisors to retain their differential of 50p an hour;

- Hourly rate to rise to £8.20 per hour from 5 September 2014;

- Further increase to £8.40 per hour on 2 January 2015;

- Further increase to £8.80 an hour from 4 September 2015;

- Further pay talks for all staff, excluding projectionists in June 2016;

- Projectionists' pay to rise by 5% backdated to October 2013;

- Projectionists'  pay to rise by 2.5% from September 2014;

- Projectionists' pay to rise by RPI or 2.5%, whichever is the greater in 2015 and 2016.

Reps at the cinema, who have led their members in an inspired battle through 13 strikes between April and July 2014, agreed that the above deal should be recommended to members as the best possible through negotiation.

Commenting on the conclusion of the dispute, Willy Donaghy, supervisory official said:

"It's inevitable, despite this vote and the pay rises to come, that there will be disappointment that the company has yet to formally adopt the Living Wage. What is clear, however, is that the branch will continue to work for the incorporation of the Living Wage into its collective agreement." 

BECTU's reps at the venue said:

"As a strong collective of staff at the Ritzy, doing things differently has been key to our success to date. 

"We have shown that workers don't simply have to put up with poverty pay, or feel powerless and isolated. 

"A small milestone has been gained with our new pay offer from Picturehouse; winning what equates to a 26% pay rise over 3 years is a real achievement. Although strike action will now cease, our campaign for a Living Wage and the dignity and justice that it represents will continue.

"As Blanca in Land & Freedom, directed by Ken Loach, said 'Tomorrow is ours!'"

BECTU general secretary, Gerry Morrissey, said:

"The Ritzy dispute - which has been remarkable for the determination of members to succeed, for their creative, musical picket lines and for the widespread, community and public support which the campaign has attracted, is one which will have a legacy beyond this agreement.

"Our members there have demonstrated the benefits of trade union activism and many, especially young people across the UK, will be following their example. 

"Our reps and members at the Ritzy, should be proud of what they have achieved this year. Everyone associated with BECTU is very proud of them."

The intense, protracted dispute led to calls for a boycott of the Picturehouse Group which was supported by the TUC. BECTU has written to the TUC to confirm that the boycott has officially ended in light of the members' vote today.

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