Socialist Worker

Support for Picturehouse workers grows in latest walkout

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2552

Marching on May Day

Marching on May Day (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Cinema workers walked out across five Picturehouse sites in London on Monday and joined the May Day demonstration.

Their demands include maternity, paternity and sick pay, the living wage of £9.75 an hour and union recognition. The Bectu section of the Prospect union is only recognised at the Ritzy site in south London.

Ben, a rep from the East Dulwich site, spoke to the May Day crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square.

“We have six sites involved in the dispute now and 300 members,” he said.

The Duke of York cinema in Brighton is in dispute but didn’t strike.

After the May Day march finished in Trafalgar Square, workers and their supporters marched to the Picturehouse Central sight in Piccadilly.

Andrea, a rep at the site, said over the megaphone, “We’re not just here for the living wage, we’re here because we want a fair society.”

Natalie from the Ritzy site in Brixton, south London, told Socialist Worker, “Organising is about the specific as well as the general.

"We galvanise members by addressing the specific issues at each site.

“That can lead to small victories which gives people the confidence to go on and make bigger demands.

“But there’s also a wider political element which every worker can identify with.”

John from the Crouch End site told Socialist Worker that management have been drafting in scabs from other Cineworld cinemas, as well as part-time workers. They are brought in before the shift starts and kept there until after the pickets finish.

Senior management have continued a campaign of holding meetings with workers to convince them against joining the union, which is a clear sign they’re rattled.

That’s an argument for having pickets at every site to argue with Cineworld workers, who are paid less than Picturehouse workers. “We’d love the dispute to spread to other Cineworld sites,” John told Socialist Worker.

Local supporters of the strikes held solidarity protests outside both the Crouch End and Hackney sites.

“Our strike is strong and it is growing,” said Ben. “And with your help it will win.”

Workers plan to protest outside parent company Cineworld’s AGM.

Protest at the AGM, Wandsworth Cineworld, Wandsworth High Street, London SW18 4TF.

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