10,000 signatures reached
Picturehouse Cinemas: Pay your staff a Living Wage
of 15,000 signatures
To: Picturehouse Cinemas Chief Exec Lynn Goleby
We, the undersigned, demand that Picturehouse Cinemas formally recognise the media and entertainment union BECTU to negotiate collectively for a living wage for all its employees wherever they work, to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect at work.
Why is this important?
This is a really important case. The cinema sector in the United Kingdom is a low wage employer with most of the big chains paying at or only just above the National Minimum Wage (£6.50 per hour - less if you are under 21). Things are a little better at independent cinemas but not much.
BECTU is the recognised trade union at Picturehouse's Ritzy Cinema in Brixton and members there were determined to win a pay rise. Following a long dispute earlier this year with 13 strikes and huge support on social media and in the press, members at The Ritzy are now earning £8.20 per hour with further rises happening during 2014 and 2015.
Unfortunately the staff at other cinemas owned by Picturehouse have not been offered the same increase. The company argue that they can't afford pay increases, despite the fact that last year their operating profits rose by 31% to £1.3 million. The parent company, Cineworld which owns Picturehouse, made profits of £31 million in 2013. So it's a profitable company and they can clearly afford to pay their staff more.
The people who work for Picturehouse in Brighton, Clapham and across the country love their job, they love cinema, and helping to bring great films to the public. What they don’t love is the poverty wages they are paid.
Other independent cinemas can afford to pay the Living Wage with Curzon Cinemas (where BECTU is the recognised union for all its workers) recently implementing the Living Wage and the London Living Wage at all their cinemas both in London and across the UK.
The Ritzy is only one cinema owned by Picturehouse and although BECTU have members at many of their other cinemas the company won't talk to us about recognition or pay.
One thing that helped change the company's mind in Brixton was pressure from their customers, who did not want to see staff at their local cinema exploited. Please help us build this petition and campaign to show them just how many of their customers nationwide believe that Picturehouse can and should pay their staff a Living Wage.
It's Fair Pay Fortnight (16 Feb -1 Mar 2015), an ideal opportunity to build on the campaign for fairer pay in Picturehouse Cinemas.
One way we can add to the pressure on Picturehouse management is to get messages sent to them on Twitter. They'll be mindful that comments will be visible to thousands of potential customers whom they'd rather keep in the dark about their refusal to pay their staff a living wage.
Can you help out by sending your local Picturehouse a tweet for Fair Pay Fortnight? Here are some quick links to help: http://act.goingtowork.org.uk/page/content/tweetpicturehouse
UPDATE 9/1/15: The West Norwood Living Wage story is sadly not true!
We apologise for the confusion, but it seems earlier local news reports that the new West Norwood Picturehouse would pay the London Living Wage were incorrect! A Picturehouse spokesperson has since denied they agreed to this.
This is obviously extremely disappointing, and makes it even more important we step up the campaign for living wages across the chain, and let Picturehouse know in very clear terms what their customers expect of them as a very profitable business. Please sign the petition if you didn't yet!
We’re excited to share a new development in the campaign. The new Picturehouse coming later this year in West Norwood will pay staff the London Living Wage. This isn’t a sudden change of heart from management though. It’s the result of Lambeth Council responding to growing public concern and making the Living Wage a condition for granting planning permission.
It shows clearly though that it’s perfectly possible for Picturehouse to pay more to all staff, not just in Norwood. They’ve made a business decision to pay more here as they know full well that profits will support it. And it makes their argument other branches can’t afford a pay rise even more tenuous.
We and our members in the chain are still pushing hard for living wages everywhere. Coupled with growing pressure from staff & customers, this decision could be a significant moment in ridding the whole chain of poverty pay. Can you help ramp up pressure even more now, by sharing this petition with your friends?
Thanks to everyone who’s signed the petition so far – We’re closing in on 7,000 signatures, which is amazing and will definitely be getting Picturehouse’s attention!
The campaign is continuing. At BECTU, we’re now preparing formal claims for recognition at three more branches of Picturehouse. It’s a long and tricky process to apply to the Central Arbitration Committee, but if our voluntary approach doesn’t produce results, that’s the formal route we have to take. Getting BECTU recognition gives workers the rights and security to have a say in decisions that affect them. Without BECTU recognition the progress on pay achieved at the Ritzy in Brixton wouldn’t have been possible; and we’re grateful to our reps there for helping us to campaign for those benefits to be extended to their colleagues across the chain.
So please keep spreading the word about this petition. We’ll be in touch again soon!
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