6 November 2014
The campaign to persuade Picturehouse cinemas to adopt the Living Wage at all its venues continues. Today, backed by the TUC, BECTU has launched a petition appealing to all of the group's customers to support payment of the Living Wage to the majority of the company's staff who are paid much less than the Living Wage.
The initiative follows the announcement this week of new Living Wage rates - £7.85 an hour outside London, and £9.15 an hour in London and coincides with widespread community action up and down the UK to address the concerns of the low paid.
Please sign the Picturehouse petition
The text of the petition, addressed to Lynn Goleby, chief executive reads:We, the undersigned, demand that Picturehouse Cinemas formally recognise the media and entertainment union BECTU to negotiate collectively for a living wage for all its employees wherever they work, to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect at work.
Why is this important?This is a really important case. The cinema sector in the United Kingdom is a low wage employer with most of the big chains paying at or only just above the National Minimum Wage (£6.50 per hour - less if you are under 21). Things are a little better at independent cinemas but not much.
BECTU is the recognised trade union at Picturehouse's Ritzy Cinema in Brixton and members there were determined to win a pay rise. Following a long dispute earlier this year with 13 strikes and huge support on social media and in the press, members at The Ritzy are now earning £8.20 per hour with further rises happening during 2014 and 2015.
Unfortunately the staff at other cinemas owned by Picturehouse have not been offered the same increase. The company argue that they can't afford pay increases, despite the fact that last year their operating profits rose by 31% to £1.3 million. The parent company, Cineworld which owns Picturehouse, made profits of £31 million in 2013. So it's a profitable company and they can clearly afford to pay their staff more.
The people who work for Picturehouse in Brighton, Clapham and across the country love their job, they love cinema, and helping to bring great films to the public. What they don’t love is the poverty wages they are paid.
Other independent cinemas can afford to pay the Living Wage with Curzon Cinemas (where BECTU is the recognised union for all its workers) recently implementing the Living Wage and the London Living Wage at all their cinemas both in London and across the UK.
The Ritzy is only one cinema owned by Picturehouse and although BECTU have members at many of their other cinemas the company won't talk to us about recognition or pay.
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. Please help us build this petition and campaign to show them just how many of their customers nationwide believe that Picturehouse can and should pay their staff a Living Wage.