London cinema workers launch fresh wave of strikes
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London cinema workers launch fresh wave of strikes

Staff at Picturehouse chain will walk out for 13 days from Saturday as part of long-running dispute over pay and union recognition










Picturehouse staff stage a protest in Leicester Square, London, in October 2017.
Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Cinema workers at five theatres across London have launched a fresh wave of strikes in a long-running dispute over pay and union recognition.

Staff at the Picturehouse chain will walk out for 13 days from Saturday in Crouch End, Hackney, East Dulwich and Central Picturehouses, as well as the Ritzy in Brixton.

The action marks an escalation in the dispute, which has been running for 16 months.

Agata Adamowicz, a workers’ rep at the Ritzy cinema, said: “This is an unprecedented escalation in the fight for the living wage, and it’s indicative of the determination that workers here feel.

“We’ve been on strike for well over a year, and the company haven’t even spoken to us. Our response to that has been, and will continue to be, to mobilise harder and strike more.”

The workers are campaigning for the voluntary living wage.

Picturehouse Cinemas, which is owned by Cineworld, the second largest cinema operator in Europe, said it had negotiated a pay increase with its staff, adding: “Within this agreement, front-of-house staff in London now receive £9.30 per hour, equivalent to £9.92 per hour as we’re one of the few cinema companies who choose to pay for breaks.

“This was agreed via a majority vote with recognised staff union the Forum.”

The London living wage was recently increased to £10.20 an hour, compared with the statutory rate of £7.50 for over 25-year-olds.

Cineworld reported a pre-tax profit of £98.2m for 2016 – slightly lower than the previous 12 months.

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