Ritzy workers were out on strike again yesterday evening, forcing the cinema to close, and the fun to come outside. Søren reports.
Management are refusing to come back to negotiations on the Living Wage, so the strikes at the Ritzy continue. This was the third strike day in three weeks. The rumour is that Cineworld, who own Picturehouse cinemas, who run The Ritzy, are leaning hard on Picturehouse to prevent Living Wage being implemented. It would seem that they fear the possibility that the demand will spread to other branches.
Unfortunately for them, the excitement of the Ritzy campaign has already spread. Workers at the Clapham branch came out to join strikers for some ad hoc readings of King Lear, which is being shown at cinemas from the National Theatre. People have been joining the cinema workers in building solidarity, and spreading the news of the strike to different cinemas across London and further afield.
Strikers and supporters danced and sang in the rain, getting plenty of positive reactions from passing Brixtonites. This was topped off by the arrival of the Lambeth College strike solidarity meeting, who came marching down Acre Lane.
The Ritzy dispute has a real importance for workers at the moment, especially those in London who are young and on casual low-paid contracts. Cinemas are private sector, and have relatively little history of trade union organisation. If the Ritzy strikers win, and if we can help network with other cinema workers and snowball that unionisation process, then it will be one of the first examples of our side actually successfully being on the offensive in several years, as supposed to having to parry off cuts and job losses.
The strike finished last night, for the time being, but the dispute continues. So, if you can, get down to The Ritzy, the Clapham Picturehouse, or other Picturehouse Cinemas across the London and elsewhere in the country, to leaflet and show support check out this Facebook event page to link up with other people doing the same.
We’ve got a PDF here of the Cinema Solidarity Campaign’s leaflet, designed specifically for the release of Blue Ruin, coming out today at Picturehouse cinemas.