BECTU have released a ballot for strike action after Picturehouse cinemas refused to back down over job cuts at the Ritzy cinema.
Staff and Picturehouse management met yesterday to discuss the surprise plans for redundancies at the Ritzy announced last week.
Management confirmed that over 30 jobs may axed. However around 50 staff stand to be made redundant because many front-of-house and bar staff will have to reapply for their own jobs – and may not get them back in the process.
Nia Hughes, a staff representative, told the Brixton Blog yesterday: “I feel really disappointed but completely confident that we have the platform to deal with this and to fight it and that the spirit of the workers at the Ritzy won’t be broken.”
If the ballot is successful a strike could start as soon as November 20. Writing in the Evening Standard yesterday, writer Will Self yesterday urged people to join him in a boycott of the cinema.
Picturehouse was bought by Cineworld in 2012. Picturehouse Cinemas refused to comment to the Blog due to the fact that they are still negotiating with staff, but pointed to a page on their website on the matter which states:
“The staff at The Ritzy recently agreed a pay package with Picturehouse Cinemas, which includes substantial pay increases across four years. During the negotiation process it was discussed that the amount of income available to distribute to staff would not be increasing, and that the consequence of such levels of increase to pay rates would be fewer people with more highly paid jobs. No decisions have been made. As the extent of changes, if any, is not known, the company is following a statutory redundancy consultation procedure.”