by Tim Lezard BECTU members at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton are to ballot for strike action after bosses announced at least 20 job cuts. The news comes shortly after the union’s successful campaign to secure the London Living Wage. Managers of the cinem …

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, BECTU, UK unions,

ritzy picketby Tim Lezard

BECTU members at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton are to ballot for strike action after bosses announced at least 20 job cuts.

The news comes shortly after the union’s successful campaign to secure the London Living Wage. Managers of the cinema, owned by Cineworld, which last year made £21m profit, say they cannot afford the wage rise, so are sacking workers to save money.

BECTU supervisory official Willy Donaghy said: “Our members at the Ritzy will not stand by and let the agreement they fought long and hard for be torn up by management. Picturehouse’s decision to announce job cuts in breach of the agreement reached with staff just six weeks ago is simply outrageous.

“Honesty, integrity and ethics play no part in their management of staff at the Ritzy and that is plain for all to see. Our members at the Ritzy and beyond will not allow threats and intimidation to stop their campaign for a living wage.”

“Management’s actions are being read by everyone with an interest in the Ritzy’s campaign as victimisation, as pay back time, for the sustained and principled campaign which has inspired so many low-paid workers up and down the country.”

Ritzy’s stance has attracted criticism from many, including from writer Will Self, who wrote in the Evening Standard that cinema-goers should boycott the venue.

He wrote: “If I seriously believed that the vast Cineworld chain would go under if it paid all its existing London employees the London Living Wage, I might have a scintilla of sympathy for their position, but I don’t. The truth is that the bean-counters are trying to cut costs and boost profits by attacking their own employees, employees who often take this part-time employment precisely because they themselves are aspirant purveyors of cultural capital — wannabe musicians, writers, actors and film-makers.

“Enough is enough: until the Picturehouse management resile from these redundancies I shan’t be darkening their darkness. I suggest that any Standard readers who really care about London’s cinematic culture do the same.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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