Ritzy strikers to meet with Archbishop of York, John Sentamu

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Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary joined Ritzy workers on strike on Saturday 21 June. The best picket line she'd ever seen, she said. Pic: Jess Hurd/TUC

23 June 2014

Leaders of the Ritzy strike are to meet with the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, tomorrow (24 June) to explain their case for the London Living Wage.

But this is not just an appeal for divine intervention. The Archbishop has been chairing a 12-month long independent enquiry - the Living Wage Commission - which is set to deliver its final report tomorrow (24 June).

Strike no 7

Last Saturday workers at the Ritzy Cinema, part of the Picturehouse chain, staged their seventh successful strike in what is now a protracted but ever more committed effort to secure the London Living Wage (LLW) at the venue.

The TUC's general secretary Frances O'Grady, also a commissioner on the Archbishop-led enquiry, joined the picket line in the afternoon.

The Ritzy cinema is located in South London and staff there face all the cost pressures of life in the capital and yet their employer has so far refused to implement the LLW. The current rate of £8.80 is set by the Living Wage Foundation, a body increasingly influential in putting the case for the Living Wage.

Hundreds of public and private sectors employers across the capital pay the London Living Wage which also has the formal backing of mayor Boris Johnson. In the Mayor's Question Time on Wednesday 11 June, Mr Johnson agreed to meet with workers from the Ritzy.; the meeting has yet to take place.

To date the Picturehouse art house circuit, part of the profitable multi-national Cineworld, has refused to incorporate the London Living Wage into its pay policy. The company walked away from talks scheduled for 4 June at the 11th hour, opting instead to impose a pay increase on its workers (up 29p to £7.53 an hour for most staff from £7.24) and have sinced faced two more strikes.

However, at the time of writing, BECTU is scheduled to meet with the company's management tomorrow 24 June. 

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