Curzon Workers: part of BECTU, but organised by the workers, and with a distinct identity by Tim Lezard   Workers at Curzon cinemas are to receive the Living Wage after a year-long campaign by BECTU. Curzon is the first cinema chain to embrace the …

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, BECTU, UK unions,
Curzon Workers: part of BECTU, but organised by the workers, and with a distinct identity

Curzon Workers: part of BECTU, but organised by the workers, and with a distinct identity

by Tim Lezard

 

Workers at Curzon cinemas are to receive the Living Wage after a year-long campaign by BECTU.

Curzon is the first cinema chain to embrace the measure which recommends an hourly rate for workers in and outside London.

This welcome news contrasts sharply with the attitude of Curzon’s competitors, Picturehouse, which yesterday confirmed its intent to cut 34 jobs out of 79 at the Ritzy Cinema to finance a pay settlement last month.  A ballot for strike action at the Ritzy gets underway on 4 November.

Thanks to the new Curzon agreement however, the company’s London-based staff will see their pay increase to £8 an hour, whilst their colleagues out of London will earn £7 an hour, both increases to take effect from 1 October 2014.

These increases will be followed in January 2015 with payment of the current Living Wage rates, £8.80 an hour in London and £7.65 outside London. The new agreement is underpinned by a commitment to pay the Living Wage “as long as the rate does not increase in excess of 3% above RPI”.

Curzon CEO Philip Knatchbull said: “We hugely value and appreciate our front line cinema staff for their enthusiasm and knowledge of film that, together with outstanding customer service, enhances the cinema-going experience and helps to make Curzon special. It really is in recognition of that and the desire to pay people a fair wage that we decided last year we needed to move to the Living Wage. It is very satisfying now to be in a position to be able to make that a reality.”

BECTU general secretary Gerry Morrissey said: “BECTU welcomes the new agreement with Curzon Cinemas and we are proud of the successful conclusion to negotiations between our members and Curzon management. BECTU is, and has always been, passionate about eradicating low pay and we can see no reason why other cinema chains cannot follow the Curzon lead. Today’s agreement shows that our objective for everyone to receive a living wage is not a matter of if but when.”

The new agreement at Curzon will benefit the majority of the chain’s 100 front-of-house employees. Commenting on the agreement, BECTU’s Curzon branch said:

“We are so grateful for all the overwhelming support we’ve received from such a variety of individuals, artists, activists and organisations who have been essential in helping us get to this point – not least the 6,808 customers who signed our petition. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

“Every one of one you has given us the courage and support to keep going. A huge thank you to all the BECTU members at Curzon in London and across the country – you are, without doubt, the fuel to this victory. We hope the new way of working with Curzon will inspire all other low waged workers across the country to stand up for themselves and get what they deserve. It’s about time. Thank you again for all your support. We could not have done it without every one of you. Thank you!”


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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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