Ritzy workers vote to reject improved pay offer

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TUC general secretary, Frances O'Grady, on the picket line in June 2014 with union members at the Ritzy.

26 August 2014

Union members at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton, South London, have voted by the narrowest of margins to reject the pay offer hammered out at ACAS late last month.

In the consultative ballot which closed today, with some 60 per cent of members using their vote,  24 members voted to reject the deal with 23 voting to accept. 

Union members at the site have met this afternoon to consider next steps whilst BECTU has written to Alistair Oatey, Picturehouse Cinemas operations manager, with an invitation to further talks. 

Settlement is within reach says union

Commenting on the outcome of the vote, Willy Donaghy, supervisory official, said:

"The vote to reject was posted by the narrowest of margins but it is a majority vote which means that our campaign to secure the London Living Wage at the venue goes on.

"Members at the venue have shown incredible unity throughout this long dispute and we expect their bond to be just as strong as we continue to pursue our goals."

Nia Hughes, BECTU's chief steward at the Ritzy, said:

"The close vote tells us that a negotiated settlement is within reach if management is willing to reconsider its position. Talks have continued with the company during the ballot period as feedback from members suggested that the vote would be close. We hope that further movement from management will materialise in the coming days to enable us to resolve the dispute.

"In the meantime the membership will remain solid and the democratic vote will be respected. We will continue with as much passion and dedication and strive for what we believe in."

13 strikes for Living Wage

Voting in the ballot got underway on 4 August following talks at ACAS which ran until 3am on Thursday 31 July.  Details of the offer which has been rejected are set out here

Workers at the Ritzy have staged 13 strikes since a decisive vote for strike action earlier this year. The first strike took place on 11 April.

The dispute has attracted widespread and concerted support from Living Wage campaigners. High profile members of the film and arts community - including film director, Ken Loach, footballer turned actor, Eric Cantona and writers Will Self and Irvine Welsh -  have recognised the strength of the argument for the Living Wage.

Picturehouse, owned by multi-national Cineworld, has been criticised for professing to hold a progressive ethos whilst refusing to concede the Living Wage in the capital city. 

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