Largest cinema workers strike in UK history

Largest Cinema Workers Strike in UK History to take place Saturday 11 February.

10 February 2017

Workers from the Ritzy Cinema, Hackney Picturehouse, Picturehouse Central and Crouch End Picturehouse are striking together on Saturday 11 February for the London Living Wage. Their press release is set out below.

Press release for immediate use:

Largest cinema workers strike in UK history 

The Living Staff Living Wage campaign has become the biggest cinema workers campaign in UK history, with a total of four Picturehouse sites (The Ritzy, Hackney Picturehouse, Picturehouse Central, Crouch End Picturehouse) set to strike on Saturday 11 February.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, a strong believer in the Living Wage, has contacted the CEO of Cineworld, Mooky 'Moshe' Greidinger, to urge him to return to negotiations with BECTU Sector of Prospect representatives. Read the letter here

This Saturday, on the weekend where the BAFTAs recognise, value, and award the great talent at the top of the industry, the workers who run the cinemas, that show and celebrate these films, will also be standing up to be valued.

Picturehouse and their owners Cineworld have still made no effort in negotiating with their workers to meet their requests for the London Living Wage, company sick pay for all staff, company maternity/paternity pay for all, fair pay rises for different roles, and union recognition for BECTU sector of Prospect as chosen by the workers of the striking sites.

Marianne Skovdahl, worker at Crouch End Picturehouse, said "We want Picturehouse to set an example by treating all company employees equally with sick pay, maternity/paternity pay and a secure, sufficient income. We love our jobs and invest a lot in Picturehouse - we don't think it's too much to ask that they also invest properly in us. We have chosen an independent trade union to represent us and we reject the Staff Forum, a union set up and funded by Picturehouse, because it is compromised and lacking the proper resources."

Andrea Cencioni, worker at Picturehouse Central, said "We are honoured to be part of the biggest cinema workers strike in UK history. We deserve a Living Wage and we deserve to be represented in pay negotiations by our chosen union - the BECTU sector of Prospect. With rent prices, travel prices, and all other prices in London so high, it is very difficult to do anything but scrape by on a sub-living wage."

Kiv Legate, worker at the Ritzy, said "The fact that Sadiq Khan has come out in support of our campaign is exemplary of the widespread support we receive in our push for a Living Wage. It is ridiculous that a company that turns over as much profit as Cineworld don't see it necessary to treat their workers ethically and value us as people trying to live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.


Contact for Hackney Picturehouse:

Alisdair Cairns (07766230226)
Twitter: @HPHLivingWage

Contact for Crouch End Picturehouse: 

Marianne Skovdahl (07542312987)
Twitter: @CEPHlivingwage

Contact for Picturehouse Central: 

Andrea Cencioni (07989769352)
Twitter: @CPHLivingWage

Contact for the Ritzy Cinema:  

Kelly Rogers (07824797278)
Twitter: @RitzyLivingWage

Further notes for Editors:

1. Members of BECTU, the cinema workers’ union, at the Ritzy, Hackney and Picturehouse Central have voted 96.8% in favour of industrial action against Picturehouse and Cineworld’s refusal to negotiate on demands for:

  • London Living Wage 
  • Company sick pay for all
  • Company maternity/paternity/adoption pay
  • Pay rises for supervisors, managers, chefs, projectionists and sound technicians.

2. Workers at Hackney Picturehouse, Picturehouse Central and Crouch End Picturehouse also seek recognition for their chosen union, BECTU sector of Prospect. This would mean that the company would agree to meet regularly with BECTU sector of Prospect members and representatives to negotiate over pay and conditions.

3. Picturehouse workers from The Ritzy, Hackney Picturehouse, Picturehouse Central and Crouch End Picturehouse have balloted for strike action and achieved a 75% turnout and 95% yes vote in favour of striking - ballot came in on Friday 3rd February.

4. Picturehouse has threatened their workers and their union, BECTU sector of Prospect, with legal action over unfounded claims of unlawful picketing, intimidating behaviour, and playing 'racial' music on picket lines.

5. 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, £9.10 p/hr. Workers at Hackney Picturehouse are paid only £8.77 p/hr.

6. Earlier in the dispute, strikes at both the Ritzy and Hackney Picturehouses led to the cancellation of a number of BFI London Film Festival screenings, and the strikers rallied outside a number of high-profile festival events.

7. Cineworld Cinemas 2015 post-tax profit: £83.8 million.

8. Since the campaign started, they have received support from a number of high profile celebrities, including Ken Loach, Danny Boyle, Eric Cantona, Andy Serkis, Irvine Welsh, Owen Jones and they have garnered a great deal of media attention, including the coverage on front cover on the Observer newspaper on 31 August 2014. 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, no doubt".

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