Hackney Picturehouse workers to strike again

An image of the queues outside Hackney Picturehouse.
Hackney Post workers strike again

Hackney Picturehouse workers will strike on Saturday, demanding the London Living Wage and for recognition of their union, Bectu.

The protest, which will start at 5am on 18 March and run for 24 hours, will be the 15th Hackney Picturehouse protest against owner Cineworld since September 2016. Workers are demanding a 7 per cent increase in pay.

Staff say that the Picturehouse has not recognised their chosen union nor had formal meetings to discuss the dispute.

Alisdair Cairns, Hackney Picturehouse workers’ representative said: “We would love not to protest at all and for them to have a meeting with us and constructive talks… At the very least we would like meaningful steps being taken towards our goals.”

Mr Cairns could not confirm whether the Picturehouse would close on Saturday. He said: “We have 53 Bectu members out of approximately 80 staff.”

He continued: “It is very much the same campaign as we had in October. We have not received any offers from Picturehouse since then and we have staged a number of strikes at intervals.”

All four London cinemas – Hackney, Crouch End Picturehouse, The Ritzy in Brixton and Picturehouse Central – will join The Duke of York cinema in Brighton in industrial action for the first time.

Mr Cairns was unsure as to whether the Hackney Picturehouse will be closed on Saturday. He said: “We have 53 Bectu members out of approximately 80 staff, vast majority of Hackney staff are on strike.

“We had a rise that came into effect in February that was officially negotiated through the forum. However it still did not meet the London Living Wage, but it would suggest a heavily influencing factor of the rise was pressure being given by us”.

Mr Cairns stated that industrial action will continue if Hackney Picturehouse refuses to engage with them. He said: “We certainly will be going on strike if no steps are taking towards that. We also see more cinemas are joining, East Dulwich picture house is balloting at the moment and may well be joining us soon, and a number of other cinemas”.

The Hackney Picturehouse is owned by Cineworld, which declared pre-tax profits of £67.3 million in 2014. The company was unavailable for comment.