London cinema workers to strike on International Women's Day in long-running pay row

They will campaign for maternity pay and the London living wage.

Cinema workers involved in a long-running pay dispute will stage a strike on International Women’s Day.

Staff from Picturehouse cinemas will protest outside Picturehouse Central near Piccadilly Circus in London between 6pm and 9pm on Thursday.

Members of the Bectu union at five cinemas across the capital have been on strike for almost two years for the London living wage, sick pay, maternity and paternity pay, and union recognition.

Picturehouse strike
The Ritzy cinema in Brixton, part of the Picturehouse cinema chain (Fiona Hanson/PA)

They will be joined for the protest by campaigners from the International Women’s Strike.

The staff – at the Brixton Ritzy and the Central, Crouch End, East Dulwich and Hackney Picturehouses – are campaigning to be paid the voluntary living wage.

Holly Thicknes, from Crouch End Picturehouse, said: “On Thursday, we will be linking up with feminists and equality campaigners – and standing in a long tradition of workers taking action on International Women’s Day.

“If our demands were rolled out across the economy it would be women who predominantly benefit, because it is women who suffer the worst pay and conditions no matter which industry you look at.”

She said gendered exploitation in the cinema world goes far beyond the alleged crimes of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, adding: “As cinema workers, we know that we need a movement that can fight the rich and powerful, who maintain their status through exploiting the most vulnerable groups in our communities.”

Last year, the employees staged a protest at the opening gala of the BFI London Film Festival – when they banged drums, chanted and waved placards.

BFI London Film Festival
Picturehouse staff stage a protest at the BFI London Film Festival (Yui Mok/PA)

Lord Of The Rings star Andy Serkis, who was the director of the film premiering, told the Press Association at the time: “I completely agree with what they are standing for, it’s outrageous.

“Of course they need a decent living wage and an equal living wage, they have every right to protest and I would be out there with them if I wasn’t on the red carpet.”

Picturehouse and Cineworld, which owns the cinemas, have been contacted for comment.

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