Workers at Ritzy Cinema in Brixton, London, have fought a long, hard battle with their employer, Picturehouse, ultimately owned by cinema giant Cineworld. After a vibrant campaign that attracted a lot of public support, it seemed like an agreement had …

Walton Pantland Europe, UK, BECTU, UK unions,

Ritzy Picturehouse

Workers at Ritzy Cinema in Brixton, London, have fought a long, hard battle with their employer, Picturehouse, ultimately owned by cinema giant Cineworld. After a vibrant campaign that attracted a lot of public support, it seemed like an agreement had been reached.

However, Picturehouse have now broken the agreement, and have employed union busters to try to prevent other Picturehouse sites gaining recognition with the broadcast and entertainment union BECTU.

Ritzy reps released the following statement:

“It is with deep regret that we inform our supporters that Picturehouse have decided to break our verbal contract of moving forward and building a positive working relationship.

It has come to our attention in the last two weeks that the backpay section of our agreement has not been fulfilled by the company, leaving workers at least two thirds out of pocket. This has come about due to ‘bonus pay’ having been taken out of backpay.

At every single point of this campaign we have fought hard to make the company realise that we do not recognise bonus as pay and have consistently rejected any deal which includes bonuses. On several occasions we have made it 100% clear to senior management that we the workers deserve better PAY and nothing less.

After having disputed the decision by the company to abuse wording of our contract, we are gathering our workers and are officially
disputing the misleading way in which the company have treated their commitment to paying us backpay to October 2013

Please be aware that this could result in industrial action.

We are hugely disappointed to have to return to this stage yet again considering the positive outcomes of our campaign and a guarantee from the company on their behalf to improve working relations.

It should also come to your attention that Picturehouse/Cineworld have employed someone with a reputation as a union buster to deal with all union relations, including BECTU’s attempts to gain union recognition at other Picturehouse branches.”


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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