Brixton Ritzy staff in pay dispute for London Living Wage with Picturehouse Cinemas

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by editor, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. editor

    editor hiraethified

    This has been going on for ages now, so it seems worthwhile starting a thread about it.

    Last month, staff union BECTU reps met with Picturehouses at ACAS and after failing to reach agreement, have formally notified Picturehouses of their intention to ballot for industrial action.

    Here's the background to the dispute:

    Today, Picturehouse released their own statement where they argue that the staff are already paid a far deal.

    shygirl, Quartz, Onket and 9 others like this.
  2. Dexter Deadwood

    Dexter Deadwood Left Voluntarily Enforced Holiday Banned

    Solidarity with the workers. If The Ritzy really cares about its corporate social responsibility it should pay all its staff the London Living Wage. Perhaps it was just an oversight on their part what with them being really busy sourcing fair trade chocolate and occupying parts of Windrush Square.
    Sea Star, Onket, muscovyduck and 10 others like this.
  3. DJWrongspeed

    DJWrongspeed radio eros

    it's a shame the staff can't benefit from my new 'verbal diarrhoea' tax which cinema goers have to fork out for (on Exit) after needlessly making trivial commentary during films and annoying half the audience.
  4. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    The Picturehouse statement makes interesting reading.

    So that ok then. :rolleyes:

    This sounds ominous. Nor does Picturehouse explain exactly what they mean by this. Do they mean reducing the number of fixed contracts over time? Would create two tier workforce. Could be the thin end of the wedge if they started to hand out zero hour contracts.

    In other types of business like security work zero hour contracts are becoming widely used.

    Cineworld who now own Picturehouse chain use Zero hours for the Cineworld cinemas.

    I guess that Cineworld would want to gradually turn the Ritzy workforce into Zero Hours staff. With 20% remaining on fixed contracts.

    This is as important an issue as the Living Wage.
    andrewdroid, Greebo, cesare and 3 others like this.
  5. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Another thing. Now most cinemas have changed to digital projection they have reduced the number of projectionists. They are no longer needed. So that has saved cinemas money.
    Greebo likes this.
  6. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Zero Hours contracts

    Greebo and Dexter Deadwood like this.
  7. Smick

    Smick Strictly Second Class

    Especially as it was one of the more skilled jobs. The films can now come directly from the film company's server at a pre-programmed time. No human involvement.

    Selling tickets online also saves them.

    There will soon be three jobs in there. Checking tickets, selling popcorn and cleaning up.

    It's no wonder they don't want to pay more. It's a race to the bottom skillswise.
  8. RedDragon

    RedDragon "I am not one of your fans!"

    Here's hoping they soon find themselves with zero punters screenings.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2014
    Onket and Gramsci like this.
  9. Hocus Eye.

    Hocus Eye. Snap, crop, scrap crap R.I.P.

    It looks like the employers don't want to concede to the workers in this particular cinema because of the knock-on effect it could on other cinemas in the chain. Perhaps the dispute itself needs to be escalated to these other workplaces.
    Greebo likes this.
  10. Dexter Deadwood

    Dexter Deadwood Left Voluntarily Enforced Holiday Banned

    The Ritzy can screen it's films with a robot projector but that robot can't buy a ticket. They can sell their tickets online, no one really objects to any of that but we all like the human touch, a bit of interaction especially in the hospitality/entertainment industry. If that's reduced to précarité popcorn sellers and surly security guards who let's not forget tried to stop people using the toilets when we turned out to party and prove Thatcher wrong on April 8th last year, then maybe none of it's any fun.
    Gramsci and Greebo like this.
  11. editor

    editor hiraethified

  12. editor

    editor hiraethified

  13. Smick

    Smick Strictly Second Class

    Good for them. I wonder will there be a picket line for members of the public to come along and show support for them.
    shygirl, Greebo and Onket like this.
  14. DJWrongspeed

    DJWrongspeed radio eros

    I can see the problem for Picturehouse is that they're a big chain and will have trouble differentiating between Ritzy staff and other cinemas. Not sure how they can resolve that realistically. If they jumped to £8.80 for all London staff it may be untenable for the organisation? What does anyone think?
  15. editor

    editor hiraethified

    Picturehouse is owned by Cineworld, the country's biggest cinema operator. They employ 80% of its 4,300 staff on zero hour contracts.
    I'm pretty sure they could afford to pay their staff a decent wage.
    muscovyduck, Greebo and Winot like this.
  16. Lo Siento.

    Lo Siento. Second As Farce

    Pretty damning for retail businesses in Brixton in general. What kind of excuse is that? Everybody else round here pays poverty wages, so why not us? Salaries have also got to represent a pretty negligible part of their total costs too.

    Incidentally, it's interesting to see the effects of the declining value of the minimum wage in London. One of the happy side effects (for capital) or having a statutory minimum wage is that in acting as a floor it keeps everyone above subsistence level without having to organise and make demands. Seems to me that you can discern a gentle spread of living wage campaigns in places where the statutory minimum (or slightly above) isn't enough for subsistence.
    Gramsci and Greebo like this.
  17. gininteacups

    gininteacups Active Member

    Loach nails it. The cinema projects this radical image, hosts the Human Rights Film Festival, and then doesn't pay staff a decent wage.

    When's the strike?
  18. DJWrongspeed

    DJWrongspeed radio eros

  19. Smick

    Smick Strictly Second Class

    They provide a premium service. If they can't afford to pay staff properly then they should put prices up, reduce their margin or get out of business.

    If their supplier of films put their price up would they bury their heads in the sand to that as well or else put the prices up or reduce their margin?

    It is nothing less than bully boy tactics, squeezing those least able to object.
    trashpony, Manter, Gramsci and 4 others like this.
  20. Lo Siento.

    Lo Siento. Second As Farce

    The company doesn't have a national collective bargaining agreement, it's well within their powers to make an exception for this group of workers alone, if they want to. What's being cited in any case is the London Living Wage, which is calculated by a very unradical organisation and is a pretty objective calculation for what basic subsistence costs in the capital - it's about as realistic as you could get as a demand. (note sponsorship by such out there left-wing groups as KPMG & AVIVA)
    scifisam, Gramsci, Greebo and 2 others like this.
  21. Lo Siento.

    Lo Siento. Second As Farce

    Somewhere like the Ritzy labour costs as a proportion of their total costs will be utterly marginal. They could double their wages and it wouldn't make a dent.
    Gramsci and Greebo like this.
  22. DaveCinzano



    Greebo and Smick like this.
  23. leanderman

    leanderman Street Party: July 2

    Is this true? I don't run a business or anything but it sounds unlikely.

    Either way, minimum wage is too low.
  24. Lo Siento.

    Lo Siento. Second As Farce

    Yeah, what costs you money as a cinema is the films and owning/maintaining the space. The actual labour involved is minimal - as a customer you lay out £10.50 per showing and require no more than 1 minute of attention from staff.
    Greebo likes this.
  25. plurker

    plurker tú no tienes la culpa mi amor que el mundo sea feo

    Last time I went to Ritzy it was c.£12 a ticket.
  26. Ol Nick

    Ol Nick beer in Brixton

    I'd be quite surprised if they were still in business in five years time. There are more profitable uses for the building in Nu Brixton and they will only have to pay minimum wage or less to run a bar or club there.

    No-one enforces the minimum wage unless the workers themselves demand it and in low-paid work mostly performed by immigrants they don't dare. It's globalisation. In return we get cheap smartphones.
    wurlycurly likes this.
  27. Smick

    Smick Strictly Second Class

    Yeah, it isn't cheap. As I have said before, each time I go with the wife I usually hand over £30 by the time some popcorn or Revels are bought.

    But I'll bet that as the price of Revels, wine, ticket paper, film rights and toilet roll goes up, they up the price of tickets or side items or take a hit in the short term and factor it in to the next increase. So why not include fair staff costs in their overall business model?

    I'd be happier spending £31 and knowing the person working there is being treated fairly.
    Greebo, plurker and editor like this.
  28. quimcunx

    quimcunx protestant traybake

    poundshop :thumbs:
    Greebo, plurker and leanderman like this.
  29. editor

    editor hiraethified

    A whisper on the street says that the strike will be next Saturday.

    I'll be there supporting them.
    Quartz likes this.
  30. gabi

    gabi Banned Banned

    you don't even need that anymore if you've got a smartphone. the only reason to use the staff there is to buy drinks, which of course can also be purchased from the house of bottles for a fraction of the price and taken in inside your man-bag so you dont even really need that.

    i do feel for them though. there seems to be huge turnover there.
    Greebo likes this.

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