Curzon Cinemas: Pay REAL Living Wage! Pay paid breaks!
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As many of you know, because you were part of this petition like me all those years ago, Curzon workers campaigned for collective recognition in 2013 and are now recognised through BECTU, the union for all cinema workers. Curzon workers then campaigned in 2014 for the Living Wage and reached an agreement with Curzon that it would be paid as a minimum from 1st January 2015. Curzon became the first commercial cinema chain in the UK to pay the living wage. A big massive thank you to every single one of you who supported them in both campaigns!
We were all proud of Curzon for leading the way. But ever since the workers gained the Living Wage, we hear that Curzon management have been chipping away at the commitment, devising ways to claw back some of the money from the workers. It was an uneasy peace but, three years on, the company seemed to be finally settling down into mutual respect and goodwill. Then, in March 2017, the new Commercial Director, Alex Sheldon cut paid breaks from the majority front of house staff.
The agreement Curzon and BECTU reached in October 2014 was that all workers employed prior to October 2014 would retain their paid breaks and all new starters after October 2014 would have unpaid breaks. Union members were not happy but it seemed an acceptable first step. As it turns out, the agreement was not communicated to new employees and many continued to receive paid breaks until the sudden cut in March this year. No notice was given and most of them found they had lost £70 - 150 a month. That's more than a £1000 a year.
Curzon Head Office has gone through a massive overhaul. CEO Philip Knatchbull has hired new executives from other cinemas who the staff do not believe understand how Curzon cinemas work – they are not places of high class entertainment solely for the wealthy, they were intended as art house independent cinemas accessible to all groups and ages. With the opening of the new cinema in Aldgate earlier this year and another one in Oxford in October, staff are suffering severely from the lack of honest communication and support on a day to day basis. Managers and staff are being pressured to reach unrealistic 'daily predictions' sales targets selling over-priced drinks and hotdogs when the cinemas are short staffed. If the 'predictions' are not met, staff budgets are cut which results in further cuts in staff hours. On day to day operational matters, there is no support from the Curzon Head Office management anymore and the cinema staff are told what to do without any involvement or explanation.
There are now too many bosses and not enough workers. The Curzon brand is becoming unrecognisable, to us, the customers, as we watch employees working like machines while Philip Knatchbull boasts his profits and his ideas of selling Curzon brand to the bigger cats like Amazon.
Right from the start, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach offered their support and what they said then still applies now:
Mike Leigh: “I use and love Curzon cinemas, and as a film-maker I have enjoyed their hospitality. So I am shocked to discover such an obscene difference between the exemplary way they treat their public and their cynical exploitation to their workers"
Ken Loach: “I wholeheartedly support the Curzon workers in their demands….Filmmakers value cinemas like the Curzon. We all want to see it become more successful. But that success cannot be at the expense of those who work there".
This petition calls on the following to pay paid breaks to all Curzon's front of house staff immediately because what we all wanted for the staff at Curzon when we signed this petition was the real Living Wage, not Living Wage Lite:
Philip Knatchbull (CEO) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Sheldon (Operations Director) - email@example.com
Emma Murphy (Head of Human Resources) - firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope after reading this you'll share with your friends and family, and continue to spread the news via Twitter and FB. The Curzon staff want to say thank you so much for your support so far - it’s already made a huge difference in helping them win union recognition and gaining the Living Wage but we now need to help them to gain their paid breaks ASAP.
PS: Curzon Workers are supporting The Picturehouse cinema workers in the UK over their fight for the London Living Wage with the Picturehouse/Cineworld chain. Please show them love and solidarity by signing this petition. Many thanks!
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