Second Ritzy strike to hit festival showings

Written by on October 6, 2016 in Campaigns, News - 1 Comment
Ritzy strikers outside the cinema

Ritzy strikers outside the cinema in September

Ritzy workers will take action for a second time in their current campaign for fair pay on Friday (7 October). The strike at the Brixton cinema, which the campaigners expect will close it, coincides with scheduled London Film Festival showings.

Striking workers who are members of the entertainment trade union BECTU plan to rally outside a number of London Film Festival venues to call on its organiser, the British Film Institute, to break ties with Ritzy owners Picturehouse and Cineworld plc until they pay the London Living Wage in their cinemas.

The strike will begin with a walk out from the Ritzy cinema in Brixton at 1pm. Strikers will then march from BFI Southbank (South Block, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XT) to Leicester Square, starting at 4pm, before protesting outside the 6pm premiere of Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, at the Odeon. They will then march to Picturehouse Central on Shaftesbury Avenue to protest there.

The first strike in the renewed dispute closed Ritzy cinema for all of Saturday 24 September. A series of strikes by Ritzy workers in 2014 gained nationwide attention.

The Ritzy strikers are heroic

BECTU member Kelly Rogers said: “We went on strike two years ago over pay, and we’re out again because we’re still being paid poverty wages.

“Many of us pay up to 75% of our income on rent. When we’re ill we have to choose between calling in sick and making rent that month. We’re asking for the basics here – enough to live on and dignity at work.”

At the UK premiere of his film, I, Daniel Blake, in Liverpool on 24 September, director Ken Loach said: “The Ritzy strikers are heroic. Picturehouse is owned by Cineworld which is a big multinational corporation. They make fortunes. The idea that they pay starvation wages because they can get people who are desperate for work is absolutely shocking. Victory to the Ritzy strikers”.

About the Author

Alan Slingsby moved to Brixton just as the 1981 uprising began. His nearest pub was the Effra and nearest off licence the Frontline — long gone in an earlier wave of closures of treasured community establishments. He works out of an office in St Matthews and before that the Bon Marché. Has edited newspapers for the National Union of Students and National Union of Teachers. Now makes a living designing magazines and books and anything else people will pay him for.

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