5 October 2016
Workers at Brixton's Ritzy cinema will stage their second strike on Friday 7 October as part of their renewed campaign for the London Living Wage. Their press release is set out below.
Press release for immediate use:
Ritzy cinema workers on strike
Workers from the Ritzy cinema (Brixton, London) are striking on Friday 7th October for the London Living Wage, to coincide with the BFI London Film Festival. The Ritzy is scheduled to host a number of BFI London Film Festival events on Friday, but it is expected that the cinema will close as a result of the strike.
The striking workers will be rallying outside a number of London Film Festival venues, and calling on the BFI to break ties with Picturehouse and Cineworld until they meet the demands of BECTU members at the Ritzy, and implement the London Living Wage in their cinemas.
The strike will begin with a walk out from the Ritzy cinema in Brixton at 1pm. They will then march from BFI Southbank to Leicester Square, starting at 4pm, before protesting outside the 6pm premiere of Damien Chazelle's La La Land, at Odeon. They will then march to Picturehouse Central on Shaftesbury Av., and protest there.
On Saturday 24th September 2016, they went on strike for this first time in this renewed dispute, resulting in the closure of the Ritzy cinema for the entire day.
Kelly Rogers, 24, said “We went on strike two years ago over pay, and we’re out again because we’re still being paid poverty wages. Many of us pay up to 75% of our income on rent. When we’re ill we have to choose between calling in sick and making rent that month. We’re asking for the basics here – enough to live on and dignity at work.”
At the UK premiere of his new film, I, Daniel Blake, in Liverpool on September 24 2016, director Ken Loach said:
“The Ritzy strikers are heroic. Picturehouse is owned by Cineworld which is a big multinational corporation. They make fortunes. The idea that they pay starvation wages because they can get people who are desperate for work is absolutely shocking. Victory to the Ritzy strikers”.
Contact: Kelly Rogers (07493 040525) or Kiv Legate (07794 422629).
Further notes for Editors:
1. Members of BECTU, the cinema workers’ union, have voted 90% in favour of industrial action against Picturehouse and Cineworld’s refusal to negotiate on demands for:
- London Living Wage (currently £9.40 p/hour)
- Company sick pay for all
- Company maternity/paternity/adoption pay
- Pay rises for supervisors, managers, chefs, projectionists and sound technicians.
2.Over the summer of 2014, Ritzy cinema workers went on strike 13 times for the London Living Wage, and secured a 26% pay rise, but continue to be paid at a rate below the London Living Wage.
3.They received support from a number of high profile creatives, including Ken Loach, Eric Cantona and Will Self, and they garnered a great deal of media attention, including coverage on the front cover of The Observer on 31 August 2014.
4. BECTU members at the Hackney Picturehouse, also part of the chain, are now being balloted for the same demands and for BECTU to be recognised there. The ballot closes on 6th October 2016.
5. The current London Living Wage is £9.40ph, it will increase in November.
6. The London Living Wage is set by the GLA and the Living Wage Foundation (http://www.livingwage.org.uk/) and is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK.
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