Staff at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton are preparing to strike for the sixth turn, accusing employers Picturehouse of performing a “volte-face” on pay talks.
Union members at the cinema have been embroiled in an industrial dispute for months in a bid to be paid the London Living Wage, currently £8.80 per hour.
The union BECTU says it was due to to go into talks with the employer today (Wednesday) and had expected to be offered a package that involved all staff being paid living wage by October next year.
BECTU General Secretary Gerry Morrissey said: “Until today we thought we were on course to an amicable agreement with Ritzy management, but their move to buy off the determined and well-organised members in the Ritzy with another cut-price pay offer is a big mistake.”
“The Ritzy workforce has called for fair pay throughout this dispute, and they know this means at least the London Living Wage. We are willing to bargain over the timetable for the full rate to be introduced, and even offered the Ritzy a get-out if the figure for 2015 exceeds inflation by more than 2%.”
Speaking to the Brixton Blog previously about the dispute, managing director of Picturehouse Cinemas Lyn Goleby said: “We are working towards a position where we can offer higher pay but at this point, we cannot do so without risking job losses across the wider Picturehouse group.
“We will continue to work with BECTU to try to resolve the issue quickly and we hope that our customers will bear with us while this process comes to a conclusion.”
The next strike will begin at 6am on Saturday (June 7) and finish at 3am the next day.
Read about the history of the dispute here.
I’m all for a living wage but why is just Ritzy getting all this grief? Are you telling me they pay living wage at all the other cinemas. I bet they don’t at Streatham Odeon or Peckham Plex.
These people should have worked harder at school.
The Ritzy staff are making a huge mistake. There will definitely be job losses if this pay proposal is accepted. Further, Picture-house may in future dispense altogether with union affiliations because of the effect that this has had on their operations. As for ‘mark ups’ on their products; businesses are saddled with horrendous costs that the general public or those not inclined to the machinations of business understand. NI, tax, corporation tax, rates, refuse costs, insurances, advertising, PRS, PPL, bank costs, multiple licences, repairs, lease costs, solicitors, accountants, book-keepers, bar staff, cleaners, kitchen staff, security, managers etc. All of those working at the Ritzy were aware of the staff pay before they joined that company. Business is difficult as it is without these types of actions that are damaging the brand that this company has built up.
Picturehouse come out of this terribly. When you look at people sitting on the terrace enjoying booze with some pretty frikkin substancial mark-ups (let alone the popcorn ffs) you start to wonder where the money goes? A living wage demand isn’t being held to ransom, it’s a moral right to demand pay that enables you to live!
The Ritzy has given the group immense brand traction in terms of cool and authenticity, well now it’s time to pay for the work of your staff.
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