Ritzy Strike

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Striking Bectu members on the picket line outside the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton on Friday morning
Striking Bectu members on the picket line outside the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton on Friday morning

A LIVELY crowd of 50 Ritzy cinema workers attracted a lot of support in Brixton yesterday, shouting ‘pay the living wage’ and ‘living staff, living wage’ during their strike.

In their statement the workers said: ‘The Ritzy is one of the busiest and most successful art house cinemas in the UK, the staff most of whom are currently paid £7.24/hr are campaigning with our union BECTU for the London Living wage which is currently £8.80/hr, a rate set by the London Living Wage Foundation and calculated annually according to the base cost of living in London.

‘Picturehouses (now owned by Cineworld) pitch themselves as an ethical enterprise whilst not paying their staff enough to live on. We have been left with no other option but to take strike action following lengthy negotiations with Picturehouses.

‘We stand by the belief that we and all workers deserve a decent standard of living. We are not alone staff at Curzon Cinemas in Central London are also campaigning for the London Living Wage and we hope this will be apart of a wider campaign to implement the London Living Wage across the cinema industry.’

The strikers won support from filmmaker Ken Loach who came down to support the picket line. He said: ‘Everyone has the right to a living wage. It is sad and shocking that the Ritzy Cinema while having an image of being radical and progressive should fail to do this.

‘It is hypocritical to sell fair trade coffee and then not pay a fair wage. Come on Picturehouses, don’t ask the people who work for you to subsidise your business, Pay the London Living Wage!’