Shock at Odeon proposals
Odeon cinema members have expressed shock at proposals to 'harmonise' terms and conditions.
Odeon and UCI, which together accounted for nearly 40% of the UK cinema exhibition industry, were bought by equity group Terra Firma in late 2004.
Now proposals have been made to significantly change working practices across the two circuits, which now trade under the Odeon brand.
BECTU NEC member Mick Corfield, chief projectionist at Cineworld cinemas, commented: "The cinema industry is going through a very difficult and alarming time for our projection/technician members across all the cinema circuits.
"If it's not the threat of digital projection and the implications of job losses that may bring, it's the recent announcement by Terra Firma to change working practices and terms and conditions of our colleagues in the Odeon cinema circuit."
The proposals include changing the title of chief technicians to technical managers and salarying them on days rather than hours conditions, with no overtime or any other premiums.
The remaining technical staff will be termed 'technicians', salaried on hours conditions for both full and part-time staff. Overtime - if worked at all - is to be at single time with the only premium being double time for bank holidays, although lieu days will be scrapped.
There will also be a reduction in staff at some sites, which the union believes could lead to possible redundancies.
Supervisory official Willy Donaghy said: "Whilst we expected the proposals to indicate some deterioration in terms and conditions currently enjoyed by Odeon staff, the [BECTU Odean] SDC (Sub-Divisional Committee) is shocked at the extent of the proposals. We will be doing everything possible to safeguard jobs and earnings."
Mick Corfield urges all members at Odeon to rally round their SDC, its chair and negotiation committee to fully support their attempts to lesson the impact of these changes.
He continues: "It is in everyone's interest to show the company that you are 100% behind their negotiation team. I'm sure that with your support and continued efforts you can still have some impact.
"The real strength you have is in your numbers, so I ask you to sign up as many members as you can as this will show the strength of feeling that exists out there. We need to show a united front and speak through one voice, and that voice is BECTU.
"I would expect my members to offer sympathy and show support to our colleagues in Odeon. Projectionists/technicians are a very close-knit community and I'm sure that we all know people who are going to be affected by these changes, so I think it's about time to put aside our inter-company differences and wish our colleagues in Odeon good luck."
Talks are due to commence on 14 March 2007 with a conclusion to be reached by 30 May.
Amended 12 March 2007