Ritzy workers to strike again for living wage

Ritzy staff in Brixton on strike in 2014
Ritzy staff in Brixton on strike in 2014

Ritzy Cinema workers in Brixton are to revive a campaign of strikes to press their demand to be paid the London living wage – currently £9.40 an hour – by their employer Picturehouse and its owner Cineworld Cinemas.

Members of the entertainment union BECTU at the Brixton cinema voted by 93% in favour of the strikes as part of their campaign for:

  • The London living wage
  • Company sick pay for all staff
  • Company maternity/paternity/adoption pay
  • Fair pay rises for supervisors, managers, chefs, sound technicians, and projectionists.

In 2014 Ritzy staff staged 13 strikes as part of a long running campaign for the London living wage which received nationwide attention. They have been boosted by the decision of staff employed by Picturehouse in Hackney to campaign for the same objectives.

The employers had agreed at ACAS (the official conciliation service) to start negotiations on this year’s pay in June. But, when talks were convened three months ago, the company refused to negotiate or to attend ACAS.

Staff will walk out of the Ritzy at midday tomorrow (24 September) and are calling for supporters to join them in Windrush Square. They will remain on strike until 5am on Sunday.

“We reject the notion that Cineworld Cinemas can get away with the economic irresponsibility it displays towards its workers at Picturehouses and Cineworld any longer,” said a statement by the staff.

“A company with £83.8 million in post-tax profit from 2015 can afford to meet our needs.

“We are forced into taking strike action by the unwillingness of the company to negotiate on our 2016 BECTU claim at ACAS.

“We welcome news of Hackney Picturehouse workers’ decision to ballot for the same demands and embrace a sister site who will campaign alongside us”.

Cineworld Group plc is the second largest cinema operator in Europe with 2,049 screens in 221 sites in nine countries. It had revenues of £705.5m last year – up on 2014’s £619.4m.

In the first half of this year its revenues in the UK and Ireland grew by 3% and admissions were up by 2.7%.

Cineworld chief executive Mooky Greidinger told shareholders: ” We have achieved growth in admissions, box office revenue, and retail sales … Our solid performance has resulted in constant currency revenue growth of 6.8%.”

The company announced an increased interim dividend for shareholders.

Greidinger  said: “I would like to express my thanks to the whole Cineworld team for all their continued hard work, for without them I would not have been able to receive the global achievement award in exhibition at Cinemacon 2016. Teamwork remains the key to our future.”


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