Ritzy workers join the largest cinema workers strike in UK history today, Sat 11th Feb

Ritzy workers join the largest cinema workers strike in UK history today, Sat 11th Feb

Brixton Ritzy cinema workers are once again walking out today (Sat 11th Feb) at 2pm as part of their ongoing campaign to be paid the Living Wage.

This time, workers from the Hackney Picturehouse, Picturehouse Central and Crouch End Picturehouse will also be joining them, in an action described by their union BECTU as the “largest cinema workers strike in UK history.”

In photos: High spirits and low temperatures on the Brixton Ritzy workers' picket line, November 2016

Members of BECTU, the cinema workers’ union, at the Ritzy, Hackney and Picturehouse Central cinemas 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.

Brixton Ritzy Strike Is Back: cinema closed for the day as workers demand a fair wage, Saturday 24th September 2016

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.

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.

In photos: Brixton Ritzy workers close down the cinema for their second strike action of the year, Friday 7th October 2016

Taking place on the weekend of the BAFTAs, the union said:

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.

They added:

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.

Next Brixton Ritzy cinema strike set for Wednesday, 21st May, from 5pm

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.

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.

[BECTU press release]

Ritzy Cinema workers overwhelming vote in favour of a strike

Discuss the Ritzy strike on the urban75 bulletin boards

More info and background research:
Why Picturehouse Cinemas should pay the Brixton Ritzy staff a living wage
Find out which employers are paying the London Living Wage http://www.livingwage.org.uk/employers
Living Wage for Ritzy Staff – Facebook page
The Living Wage Foundation
Living Wage and women in-work poverty
KPMG – a Living Wage Employer (case study)
Living Wage Research for KPMG (PDF study)