BECTU members demonstrating outside the BFI Film Festival. Photo credit Justyna Wichowska
9 November 2017
Industry figures, including I Daniel Blake producer Rebecca O’Brien and Suffragette director Sarah Gavron, write open letter to Picturehouse.
Fifty-five high profile figures in the British film industry have written an open letter to Picturehouse, and parent company Cineworld, calling for an end to the long running dispute with BECTU members over the Living Wage.
A negative impact on the industry
The letter follows a series of demos and strikes by Picturehouse workers as part of ongoing industrial action. “The disruption caused to this year’s BFI London Film Festival highlighted for us the negative impact this dispute is having on the industry,” signatories say.
“We were particularly concerned about the difficult position many individual film makers found themselves in regarding screening their films at your cinemas,” the letter continues.
“This is the third year of disruption and it seems to us that this has now reached a point where Picturehouse needs to find an amicable resolution with its workers in order to resume a positive relationship with, and for the good of, the industry,” they conclude.
Return to the negotiating table without delay
Signatories call for recognition of trade union BECTU within Picturehouse, full company maternity, paternity and sick pay and a return by the company to the negotiating table “without delay.”
Other signatories include Elizabeth Karlsen of Number 9 Films, Saving Mr Banks producer Alison Owen, Cornerstone Films’ Alison Thompson, Love Actually producer Duncan Kenworthy and The Party director Sally Potter.
Living Wage Week
The letter comes during Living Wage Week in the UK, an initiative run by the Living Wage Foundation, which saw the suggested Living Wage raised to £10.20 in London and £8.75 for the rest of the UK. Picturehouse currently pays £9.30 in London and £8.36 elsewhere in the UK.
In 2016 Cineworld posted profits of £93.8m, whilst CEO Mooky Greidinger earned over $2 million. However, despite an agreement in 2014 to work towards the Living Wage, Picturehouse has refused to meet with BECTU to address issues of pay and terms and conditions at the Ritzy in Brixton, or to recognise BECTU at other Picturehouse venues.
A full list of signatories is below:
Steve Smith, Chairman Directors UK; Andrew Chowns, CEO Directors UK; Kate Kinninmont CEO, Women in Film and TV; Zeb Achonu, Editor; Christine Payne, General Secretary, Equity; Julie Baines, Producer; Nicky Bentham, Producer; Camilla Bray, Producer; Iain Brown, Producer; Dominic Buchanan, Producer; Timothy Burrill, Producer; Andrea Cornwell, Producer; Kahleen Crawford, Casting Director; Pippa Cross, Producer; Finola Dwyer, Producer; Tim Fywell, Director; Tony Garnett, Producer; Sarah Gavron, Director; Tony Grisoni, Writer; Tom Harper, Director; Dan Hine, Producer; Kamilla Hodol, Producer; Amanda Jenks, Producer; Emilie Jouffroy, Producer; Matthew Justice, Producer; Elizabeth Karlsen, Producer; Kurban Kassam, Producer; Duncan Kenworthy, Producer; Line Langebek, Writer; Paul Laverty, Writer; Stewart le Marechal, Producer; Emily Leo, Producer; Ewa J Lind, Editor, Andrew Litvin, Producer; Ken Loach, Director; Kevin Loader, Producer; Gillies MacKinnon, Director; Ivana MacKinnon, Producer; Malcom Moore, Producer; Rebecca O’Brien, Producer; Kate Ogborn, Producer; Lisa Osborne, Producer; Alison Owen, Producer; David Parfitt, Producer; Michael Pearce, Director; Amanda Posey, Producer; Sally Potter, Director; Lisa Marie Russo, Producer; Tim Sealey, Producer; Christopher Sheppard, Producer; Charles Steel, Producer; Gabrielle Tana, Producer; Alison Thompson, Sales Agent; Warp Films, Production Company; Ado Yoshizaki Cassuto, Producer.
The full text of the letter is published on Screen Daily
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