In 2007, workers at Picturehouse began a campaign for the Living Wage at the Ritzy cinema, which aimed for pay above the minimum wage.
In 2014 13 strikes supported by their union, BECTU, resulted in a 26% pay rise and an agreement with Picturehouse Cinemas (owned by Cineworld) to re-negotiate towards the London Living Wage in June 2016. The company have since back-tracked on this agreement and have refused to negotiate in any way, disappointing employees, customers and the local communities.
At Hackney Picturehouse, Picturehouse Central, Crouch End Picturehouse, Brighton Duke of York's and East Dulwich Picturehouse, the company has repeatedly refused to acknowledge their chosen union, BECTU - now a sector of Prospect. Instead, Cineworld/Picturehouse recognise the Staff Forum, a union set up and funded by Picturehouse themselves. Workers at these sites have been denied a platform of any kind upon which to discuss the London Living Wage.
All six sites have balloted and voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action.
Workers at all five sites are calling for:
A London Living Wage
BECTU union recognition (Hackney, Central, Crouch End)
Company sick pay for all staff
Company maternity/paternity/adoption pay
Fair pay rises for supervisors, managers, chefs, sound technicians and projectionists
Resolving in-house issues plaguing staff and customers alike
“Picturehouse workers are heroic. Picturehouse is owned by Cineworld which is a big multinational corporation. They make fortunes. The idea that they pay starvation wages because they can get people who are desperate for work is absolutely shocking. Victory to Picturehouse workers, no doubt." - Ken Loach.
Patrick Harrington, general secretary of Solidairty, commented:
"I am a Picturehouse member and I have followed the struggle of workers there closely. They are incrdibly brave to stand up for their rights. I would urge all Picturehouse workers to join BECTU and unite behind their banner. I invite Solidairty Union members and supporters to oonate to their strike fund here.