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Spread fight to other flicks to pressure Picturehouse bosses

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Issue 2607
Determination on the picket line
Determination on the picket line (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Workers at four branches of the Picturehouse cinema chain struck on Thursday and Saturday of last week.

The members of the Bectu arm of the Prospect union are fighting for the Living Wage of £10.20 an hour inside London.

Other demands include sick and maternity pay and trade union recognition.

The four sites out were Crouch End in north London, Hackney in east London, Picturehouse Central London, and East Dulwich in south London.

An “admin error” prevented workers from the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, south London joining others on the picket line.

Strikers told Socialist Worker how they intended to hold targeted strikes in an attempt to increase the dispute’s media profile, rather than attempting to shut down sites.

Josh from the Hackney site said, “When we first started at Hackney we shut down the site.”

Now “it’s harder for us to shut down Hackney” because bosses have a pool of reserve labour they can call in.

Raises 

That raises questions about the way forward for the dispute.

On a previous occasion one union official said the turning point in a Ritzy dispute in 2014 was when columnist Will Self wrote a supportive piece.

But the Ritzy cinema is shut down every time workers walk out because union density is so high.

Joe from the central London site told Socialist Worker, “Most of us come out because we are treated like crap.”

The potential for the dispute to spread is there.

But management are not going to be convinced to come around the negotiation table. They must be forced there.

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