Picturehouse workers have voted over 90% for further strike action in their dispute over pay, conditions, and union recognition.
The current dispute started at the Ritzy in Brixton in 2014 and spread out to five other cinemas, in Hackney, Crouch End, Piccadily, Dulwich and Brighton. The strikers have gone out of their way to support other people in disputes especially low paid workers like the London cleaners. During the long running Lambeth College strike Ritzy strikers took part in several supportive actions with the nearby Brixton branch, including marches between picket lines. Picturehouse management have responded with intimidation including suspending several reps. The four reps who were suspended at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton have now been sacked and have a case ongoing for wrongful dismissal. Picturehouse management later suspended another rep at Hackney. Picturehouse management have also changed tactics from closing the cinemas on strike days to opening them with new temps and managers from other sites across the country.
Ritzy in Lambeth and Picturehouse in Hackney are the two most strike prone cinemas (there were previous strikes at the Ritzy in 2007.) Brixton and Hackney are both areas with a strong left wing tradition where the strikers receive a lot of local support. However there are 24 Picturehouse cinemas in the UK and it is important for the strike to spread. Here is a list of Picturehouse cinemas:
- London: Clapham, Dulwich, Greenwich, Brixton, Stratford, Hackney, Crouch End, Notting Hill, Piccadily
- Rest of UK: Bath, Exeter, Stratford, Southampton, Oxford, Cambridge, Norwich, Henley, Brighton, Liverpool, Bradford, York, Edinburgh.
- There is also a Picturehouse in Dublin where workers are currently balloting on strike action.
As a long running and hard fought strike in a casualised and low paid industry, it is important that the Picturehouse strike isn't worn down by attrition. The strikers are friendly and welcoming of supporters on strike days, and the picket lines make a real difference to the strike as a lot of customers turn back or get refunds.
Follow the dispute and get in touch with the strikers to find out how you can support them: