Socialist Worker

Picturehouse workers stage seven-day strike

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2592

Protesting at Cineworld’s offices

Protesting at Cineworld’s offices (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Workers at five Picturehouse cinema sites in London walked out for seven days last Saturday.

They are members of the Bectu arm of the Prospect union. Their demands include the Living Wage of £10.20 an hour in London and £8.75 an hour outside London.

And they also want paternity pay, maternity pay and union recognition. This phase of the dispute started in September 2016

On Monday workers protested outside the head office of Cineworld, the company which owns Picturehouse.

Picket lines have been called at a different site on each day of the strike.

There was only one picket line last Saturday—at the Hackney site in east London.

This meant that picket lines were not as well attended as they would have been had every site had a picket on each day.

Union officials have said this is because they can’t provide enough stewards on strike days. But workers could be stewards—and to suggest otherwise is patronising.

Officials have also said having one site as a focus for picketing maximises numbers—but there is little evidence of this.

“Management have been quiet this time round,” said Picturehouse rep Sam.

That is apart from when they are trying to bribe people back into work with offers of doughnuts and food.

The latest round of strikes comes as Cineworld prepares a bid to take over the US Regal cinema chain.

The deal will cost around £428 million and would be funded by piling debt onto the company.

Workers have crowdfunded for around £26,000 for the strike fund.

Sam said, “The money is there, we would not have gone through with this if we thought it was going to put financial pressure on the union.”

Sam is a pseudonym

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