Socialist Worker

Strikers shut Ritzy cinema as union puts in new claim

by Raymie Kiernan
Issue No. 2405

Strikers and supporters on the picket line

Strikers and supporters on the picket line (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Cinema workers at the Ritzy Picturehouse in south London struck for the fifth day in six weeks on Wednesday of last week. 

They are demanding to be paid at least the London Living Wage of £8.80 an hour. Once again the Bectu union members shut the cinema down. 

“It shows they can’t open without us,” striker Kevin Kolley told Socialist Worker. “We work hard for them and deserve a better wage. After I pay rent and bills I don’t have enough left to live on.”

Tessa Horrocks, who has worked at the Ritzy for ten years, agreed. She told Socialist Worker, “This city is so expensive to live in, the London Living Wage is important for everyone in London. The Ritzy is very successful—they can afford to pay it.”

Strikers staged a lively protest at Hackney Picturehouse in east London. It unnerved the bosses, who suddenly appeared to talk with union officials.

The thought of campaigns for better pay spreading across the chain will worry Picturehouse management and their owners, Cineworld. The cinema giant employs 80 percent of its workers on zero hours contracts.

In a conciliatory move ahead of the strike Bectu offered bosses a revised claim. The union said it was “now seeking an increase to £8.00 an hour backdated to October 2013”. 

This was to be “followed by an increase to £8.80 an hour from December 2014, with full incorporation of the London Living Wage from November 2015.”

Previous talks between Bectu and Picturehouse broke down. Formal talks are set to take place on Wednesday of next week.

Send solidarity messages to [email protected] Donations to ‘Ritzy Strike Fund’, Bectu, 373-377 Clapham Road, London SW9 9BT


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.