the media and entertainment union
a sector of Prospect

4 January 2017

BECTU members working for Picturehouse cinemas in Brixton, Hackney and central London have given their overwhelming backing to strike action as they continue their efforts to engage management in talks to resolve their disputes.

More than 100 union members took part in the official strike ballot across the three sites: the Ritzy in Brixton, the Hackney Picturehouse and Picturehouse Central in central London. 97% of those voting backed strike action. Participation in the ballot was 77%. The vote, which got underway before Christmas, closed at 12 noon today, Wednesday 4 January. 

Ritzy, Hackney Picturehouse and Picturehouse Central

Union members at Brixton's Ritzy Cinema have mounted a series of strikes since September 2016 in their renewed campaign for the Living Wage. The Living Wage for London, set by the Living Wage Foundation, currently stands at £9.75 an hour. The union's claim for the Living Wage is part of a broader claim for improvements to terms and conditions which Picturehouse management has chosen to ignore. 

Similarly, the union's branch at the Hackney Picturehouse also submitted a pay claim which the company has rejected; union members in Hackney also want their management to recognise BECTU for collective bargaining; again this request has fallen on deaf ears.

Despite, the stonewalling, BECTU members in Hackney have mounted several strikes in the last three months, the most recent on 1 January. 

Discontent with terms and conditions within the Picturehouse group is spreading. Staff at Picturehouse Central on Shaftesbury Avenue are also now poised to strike to secure the talks they need to put their case for improvements in terms and condtions. 

Next steps

Representatives from all three venues will meet tomorrow, Thursday 5 January, to discuss the next steps. 

Commenting on the ballot result, Willy Donaghy, supervisory official said:

"I would expect more strikes to follow but I would hope that the strength of feeling shown by the ballot, especially after dozens of strikes at Hackney and the Ritzy, would encourage the company to get round the table".

Last year Picturehouse management refused an invitation from the government's arbitration service, ACAS, to meet for talks. 

Support the strike fund

The campaign by union members at Picturehouse has secured substantial support, both local and national.  Please help them in their fight by donating to their strike fund

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