Striking workers shut down Picturehouse’s Ritzy cinema in Brixton, south London, on Friday of last week. The Bectu union members are demanding the £8.80 an hour London Living Wage. They are currently paid £7.24 an hour—by a firm whose owner made over £30 million profit last year.
Ritzy Bectu rep Rob Lugg told Socialist Worker, “Since the economic crisis there’s been a big change in our living standards.
“Many of our members don’t have a history of trade unionism nor have they been on strike before but cinema workers are organising. We’ve seen incredible campaigns like the cleaners at Soas that we see as very much part of the same struggle.”
Workers rejected by 80 percent an offer of £8.80 an hour in 20 months time—long after it will have stopped being the living wage. They voted by 85 percent to strike.
“We’ve had more food and drink donated than we could possibly consume,” Rob said. The Ritzy workers received huge support from locals and Ritzy members visiting the picket line and sending messages online.
“Lots of members and others coming in last week were telling us all they support us saying ‘I hope you win’,” striker Polly Stevens told Socialist Worker. “One pointed out to me that they keep putting up ticket prices up so they should have enough to pay a living wage.”
Ritzy workers are set to strike again from 5pm on Friday of this week and all day Saturday.