London Picturehouses strike solid!

BECTU picket line at the Hackney Picturehouse on Saturday
BECTU picket line at the Hackney Picturehouse on Saturday

NOT a single film was on show at the Hackney Picturehouse on Saturday as the cinema workers escalated their strike action for a living wage.

The picket line was 100% rock solid, with not a single worker crossing the picket. Cinema workers were also out in tandem at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, the Central Crouch End and East Dulwich Picturehouses.

BECTU union member Griff Jones told News Line on the Hackney picket: ‘We are here fighting for the London Living Wage. It is so expensive to live in London. All we are asking for is another 70p an hour, that is all they need to add on to reach the London Living Wage.

‘We do not get maternity leave and we only get statutory sick leave so these are two other things that we are fighting for. Cineworld have said that they will not talk to us about our demands. They were forced to close the cafe at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton during the strike so our strike is working. The next set of strikes will be September and we are going to re-ballot, but we are definitely continuing the fight until we win!’

The strike at London’s Picturehouses was solid as members of the cinema workers’ union BECTU took further action at five Picturehouses to secure the Living Wage currenty £9.75 in London and £8.45 outside London. The Cineworld employees have taken nearly 60 days of strike action over previous months.

Ritzy cinema strikers in Brixton, south London, were calling on workers in other sectors to come out in support of their struggle for the London Living Wage, maternity and paternity and adoption leave, and the reinstatement of four union reps who were sacked for informing their members about negotiations taking place.

Dominika, a striker at the Ritzy, told News Line: ‘The company fired our BECTU reps. The Ritzy is completely shut down during the strike. And the other sites are getting stronger. We are determined to win this, including the reinstatement of our union reps. We will just keep going.’

They are also calling for a boycott of Picturehouse cinemas by the public until the dispute is resolved.

At the Picturehouse in East Dulwich, they said they were more determined than ever to win their just cause, but after nearly 60 days of strike action which has caused a financial burden on the strikers, many on the picket line are now asking for further support.

The local branch chair said he had put forward several resolutions asking BECTU executive to use the full power of the union, and widen the dispute to bring all of its members out, but to date the executive have limited the action. However, the union said the strike was spreading to other Picturehouse venues.