Ritzy workers campaign for a fairer wage, earlier this year.
Picturehouse Cinemas: Pay all your staff a living wage
Staff at the Ritzy Picturehouse cinema in Brixton, London, have been fighting a long and difficult campaign to be paid a living wage. They’ve faced strong opposition from management and the threat of redundancies, but by standing strong with their union BECTU, they’ve managed to strike a deal that has seen their base rate of pay rise significantly to £8.20 an hour.
The Ritzy workers’ fantastic sustained campaign has been a highlight in an industry increasingly dominated by low pay, low security employment.
However, the pay rise they’ve won will only go to staff at the Brixton branch of the Picturehouse chain, not to staff at the other 21 Picturehouses around the country. BECTU are stepping up the campaign for all Picturehouse employees, from Exeter to Edinburgh, to receive a fairer wage for their work.
The people who work for Picturehouse Cinemas across the country love their jobs, they love cinema, and they love helping to bring great films to the public. What they don’t love is the poverty wages they are paid.
The company argue they can’t afford pay increases. Yet their operating profits last year rose by 31% to £1.3 million, and their parent company, multinational cinema group Cineworld, made even healthier profits of £31 million in 2013.
And it’s not as if other independent cinemas don’t do it – Curzon Cinemas now pay the Living Wage at all their cinemas across the UK, after BECTU members there campaigned for fairer pay.
There’s clearly room for Picturehouse to treat their dedicated staff with more respect.
Although BECTU have members at many Picturehouse cinemas, the company currently only recognise the union for the Brixton branch, and won’t talk to them about recognising the union more widely in the chain, so they can negotiate on pay for workers outside Brixton.
One thing that helped change the company’s mind in Brixton was pressure from their customers, who did not want to see staff at their local cinema exploited. And that’s where you come in.
BECTU are running a petition with our campaign network, Going To Work. Can you sign it, and help show Picturehouse just how many of their potential customers nationwide believe they can and should pay their staff a living wage?