Film industry heavyweights tell Picturehouse to settle

Ritzy workers in Windrush Square at the weekend

Significant UK film industry figures, including I, Daniel Blake producer Rebecca O’Brien; producer Tony Garnett; writer Paul Laverty; and Suffragette director Sarah Gavron, have written an open letter to the Picturehouse cinema chain and its owner Cineworld calling on them to settle the dispute over their refusal to pay the Living Wage.

The campaign by Picturehouse employees for the Living Wage, which this week rose to £10.20 an hour in London, began at Brixton’s Ritzy cinema. Workers are also seeking maternity and sick pay and recognition of their union BECTU.

”The disruption caused to this year’s BFI London Film Festival highlighted for us the negative impact this dispute is having on the industry,” the letter, reported on the website, says.

Its signatories are ”deeply concerned about the negative impact this dispute has had on our industry and businesses over the past three years”.

They call on Picturehouse and Cineworld to re-enter negotiations with BECTU “without delay”.

Signatories say they were particularly concerned about the position many film makers found themselves in over screening films at Picturehouse and Cineworld cinemas.

“Film makers and other film workers wish to support the release of their films in any way possible, and give time and energy to launch activities, only to find themselves seriously conflicted about attending such events when they are aware of the cinema workers’ conditions at your sites.

“This is the third year of disruption and it seems to us that this has now reached a point where Picturehouse needs to find an amicable resolution with its workers in order to resume a positive relationship with, and for the good of, the industry.”

All signatories signed up to this statement:

  1. We acknowledge and applaud the valuable role played by cinema workers in our industry.
  2. We support their right to a Living Wage as set by the Living Wage Foundation, to join their union of choice including receiving recognition of that union (in this case BECTU) and full company maternity, paternity and sick pay.
  3. We call on Picturehouse (and Cineworld) to get back to the negotiating table with BECTU without delay.

Other signatories include Elizabeth Karlsen of Number 9 Films, Saving Mr Banks producer Alison Owen, Cornerstone Films’ Alison Thompson, Love Actually producer Duncan Kenworthy and The Party director Sally Potter.

Screendaily has previously analysed what the ongoing dispute meant for the UK’s film industry.

Full list of signatories:

Steve Smith, Chairman Directors UK; Andrew Chowns, CEO Directors UK; Kate Kinninmont CEO, Women in Film and TV; Zeb Achonu, Editor; Christine Payne, General Secretary, Equity; Julie Baines, Producer; Nicky Bentham, Producer; Camilla Bray, Producer; Iain Brown, Producer; Dominic Buchanan, Producer; Timothy Burrill, Producer; Andrea Cornwell, Producer; Kahleen Crawford, Casting Director; Pippa Cross, Producer; Finola Dwyer, Producer; Tim Fywell, Director; Tony Garnett, Producer; Sarah Gavron, Director; Tony Grisoni, Writer; Tom Harper, Director; Dan Hine, Producer; Kamilla Hodol, Producer; Amanda Jenks, Producer; Emilie Jouffroy, Producer; Matthew Justice, Producer; Elizabeth Karlsen, Producer; Kurban Kassam, Producer; Duncan Kenworthy, Producer; Line Langebek, Writer; Paul Laverty, Writer; Stewart le Marechal, Producer; Emily Leo, Producer; Ewa J Lind, Editor, Andrew Litvin, Producer; Ken Loach, Director; Kevin Loader, Producer; Gillies MacKinnon, Director; Ivana MacKinnon, Producer; Malcom Moore, Producer; Rebecca O’Brien, Producer; Kate Ogborn, Producer; Lisa Osborne, Producer; Alison Owen, Producer; David Parfitt, Producer; Michael Pearce, Director; Amanda Posey, Producer; Sally Potter, Director; Lisa Marie Russo, Producer; Tim Sealey, Producer; Christopher Sheppard, Producer; Charles Steel, Producer; Gabrielle Tana, Producer; Alison Thompson, Sales Agent; Warp Films, Production Company; Ado Yoshizaki Cassuto, Producer.