Socialist Worker

Joint cinema workers' strike called after Ritzy workers walk out

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2525

Ritzy strikers outside the BFI London film festival last week

Ritzy strikers outside the BFI London film festival last week (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Striking workers at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, south London, marched to the BFI London film festival in Leicester Square on Thursday of last week.

The Bectu union members were on strike for the London Living Wage of £9.40 an hour. Strikers also want maternity and paternity pay, sick pay and pay rises for duty managers and supervisors.

Ritzy is part of the Picturehouse chain, owned by Cineworld.

Workers marched past BFI Southbank. “BFI pays the living wage so we want them to pressure Picturehouse to do the same,” said striker Zena Papaphati.

Picturehouse’s 2015 full accounts include the statement, “Each person is accorded the dignity and respect and the guiding principle is followed that we treat other people as we ourselves would like to be treated.”

Cineworld Holdings Ltd posted after tax profits of over £20 million in 2015. Yet workers can’t afford to live where they work.

“A lot of workers can’t afford to pay rent,” said striker Sophie Lowe. “It’s hypocritical because Picturehouse and Cineworld have recorded massive profits.”

Workers at Hackney Picturehouse delivered a resounding 100 percent vote for strikes on a 58 percent turnout last week.

Their demands are similar to those at the Ritzy but also include union recognition.

Both groups were set to strike this Saturday. Marchers relished the prospect of joint action. “It’s a great result,” said Sophie.

“I’m looking forward to see what we can coordinate with people from Hackney.” Zena added, “The Hackney result was amazing. I think they’re very brave. We feel like we’re not alone anymore and we’re going to give them as much support as they need.”

For updates about the Ritzy dispute, go to or For updates on Hackney go to

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