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Corbyn backs Picturehouse strikers in their fight for the living wage

JEREMY CORBYN lent his support to striking Picturehouse cinema staff today.

The Labour leader sent his “solidarity” to the members of the Bectu union at five cinemas as they staged a further walkout in their long-running row over pay.

Staff protested outside Picturehouse Central, near London’s Piccadilly Circus, between 6pm and 9pm and, since it was International Women’s Day, were joined by campaigners from the International Women’s Strike.

The fight for the London living wage, sick pay, maternity and paternity pay and union recognition started at the Ritzy in Brixton in the summer of 2014 and has now spread to other Picturehouse-owned cinemas in the capital, including Crouch End, East Dulwich and Hackney.

Mr Corbyn said: “I fully support your campaign to be paid the real living wage and to tackle the injustices that you face in your workplace.

“On International Women’s Day, it is right that we recognise that women are disproportionately affected by poverty pay and strengthen our resolve to tackle it.”

Crouch End Picturehouse’s Holly Thickens said the strikers would be “linking up with feminists and equality campaigners” to continue 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 argued.

Ms Thickens also pointed out that sexist exploitation in the cinema world goes far beyond the alleged crimes of film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“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,” she said.

Mr Corbyn vowed that a Labour government would give all workers equal rights from day one of their employment, whether part-time, full-time, temporary or permanent.

“All workers should have the security of a union in their workplace, so Labour will make it easier for unions to gain access to workplaces and to gain recognition,” he promised.

The Labour leader called on Picturehouse to reinstate four sacked Bectu reps “with immediate effect” and to open talks with the union.

Cineworld, which owns Picturehouse, could not be reached for comment before the Star went to press.


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