Workers at London Picturehouse cinemas in Brixton, Hackney, Crouch End and Piccadilly will be on strike again on April 15th. They will be joined by East Dulwich, and Duke of York’s Cinema in Brighton, striking for the first time. The strikers want the living wage, sick pay, maternity pay and union recognition. The cinema workers’ union, Bectu, reports that the most recent strike ballot was 96.8% in favour of industrial action.
The Picturehouse strikes started in 2014 at the Ritzy in Brixton, and have since spread out to other cinemas. The latest strike on February 11th at the Ritzy, Hackney, Crouch End and Picturehouse Central sites was the biggest cinema strike in Britain so far. The workers say that they cannot manage paying London rents on wages of between £8.77 and £9.10 an hour and point out that parent company Cineworld made £83.8 million last year after tax.
Picturehouse has been trying to intimidate the strikers by making legal claims against them for unlawful picketing and has recently been opening the cinemas on strike days using managers brought in from round the country. They have also recruited a pool of new staff, not telling them about the strike but just saying they need to be available to work in any cinemas at short notice.
Workers from the striking cinemas have travelled to other cinemas in London and outside it to spread the campaign. They have also been active in supporting other people, especially the Ritzy workers during the Lambeth College strike, when there were marches between the college and the cinema and lots of mutual support.
If you live in London or Brighton try to visit your local picket line. The cinema pickets are always welcoming and lively and the workers are asking especially for your support as managers are now opening the cinemas during strikes. Find details of picket lines at: