BECTU members at the Ritzy cinema will ballot for strike action over management’s decision to announce large scale redundancies just six weeks after an agreement was reached to settle the long-running pay dispute.
Members at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton are to vote on strike action against the job cuts following a formal consultation meeting held yesterday where management confirmed that as many as 34 out of the 79 staff could be sacked.
The outrage of Ritzy workers, who thought they had concluded a major battle over wages, is shared by hundreds of local supporters.
In addition large numbers of patrons of the Picturehouse chain, part of multi-national Cineworld, have taken to social media in the last few days to express their disbelief and call for a boycott of the cinema.
Between April and July this year, members at the cinema staged 13 strikes and gathered massive support both locally and nationally in support of their claim for a living wage.
In an effort to justify their actions, Picturehouse management is claiming that the ACAS agreement which settled the dispute, specifically referenced job cuts to pay for the agreed wage increases.
BECTU says that this is not true as management signed up to an agreement which made it clear that working patterns for existing staff would be maintained.
Commenting on management’s return to hostilities BECTU’s supervisory official, Willy Donaghy, said: ‘Our members at the Ritzy will not stand by and let the agreement they fought long and hard for be torn up by management.
‘Picturehouse’s decision to announce job cuts in breach of the agreement reached with staff just six weeks ago is simply outrageous.
‘Honesty, integrity and ethics play no part in their management of staff at the Ritzy and that is plain for all to see. Our members at the Ritzy and beyond will not allow threats and intimidation to stop their campaign for a living wage.’
Ballot papers will be distributed to union members on 4th November and the ballot will run until 13 November. If the vote is positive, strike action could take place as early as 20 November.