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London's Ritzy Cinema workers win 12% rise after intense dispute

Cinema union Bectu leader Gerry Morrissey hails 'creative, musical and determined' workers for their tenacity

Cinema workers wrote a happy ending to their blockbuster industrial dispute over the weekend by penning a deal for a 12 per cent pay rise this year.

Thirty five members of entertainments union Bectu that work at the Ritzy Cinema in London voted in favour of the offer, with four voting against.

Their strike epic included 13 walkouts between April and July and won national acclaim from filmmaker Ken Loach.

Bectu general secretary Gerry Morrissey gave his members efforts a rave review saying: “The Ritzy dispute — which has been remarkable for the determination of members to succeed, for their creative, musical picket lines and for the widespread, community and public support which the campaign has attracted, is one which will have a legacy beyond this agreement.

“Our members there have demonstrated the benefits of trade union activism.

“Our reps and members at the Ritzy, should be proud of what they have achieved this year.” Workers have been promised the equivalent of the £8.80 per hour London living wage by September 2015 — but will continue campaigning to be paid the basic rate immediately.

The deal includes a top-up of 80p per hour on work, holiday and sick pay, as well as a retrospective rise to £8 per hour backdated to October last year.

The total sum of the Ritzy workers victory is a 26 per cent rise in pay across three years.

Cinema projectionists have however been left worse off — winning just a 2.5 per cent increase in pay for this year.

And Bectu supervisory official Willy Donaghy said: “It’s inevitable, despite this vote and the pay rises to come, that there will be disappointment that the company has yet to formally adopt the living wage.

“Although strike action will now cease, our campaign for a Living Wage and the dignity and justice that it represents will continue.”

The boycott called against Brixton’s Ritzy Cinema and other Picturehouse cinemas — observed by many trade unionists and campaigners — has also been ended as part of the deal.

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