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Pay staff at The Ritzy Cinema the London Living Wage!

This petition had 2,121 supporters

London is the most expensive city on earth to live in. Currently the city is in the midst of an acute, and worsening, housing crisis with house prices and rents sky-rocketing from already historic highs. Other basics like gas, electricity and food are also continuing to rise faster than headline inflation. Meanwhile the number of low-paid workers in London continues to rise and living standards continue to fall for most.

In this context the workers at The Ritzy CInema in Brixton, South London, organised in the Trade Union BECTU, have been campaigning for a pay rise in line with the London Living Wage. The London Living Wage (LLW) is set by the independent Living Wage Foundation based upon an objective analysis of the costs of living in London and is the minimum rate of pay that is necessary for a decent standard of living.

The Ritzy is part of the successful Picturehouse Cinemas chain, the largest chain of art-house cinemas in the UK. It is owned by Cineworld Group PLC, now the largest chain in Europe by number of screens since it paid more than £500 million for the Cinema City chain in February this year.

Picturehouses have ambitious expansion plans, including spending £20 million on opening five new sites in London alone. Combined with the fact that The Ritzy is the most successful art-house cinema in the UK, and in the Picturehouse chain, with it's profits increasing by 140% in 2012 alone according to accounts published at Companies House, it's easy to see why the workers there feel The London Living Wage is a fair way to share in the success they have created.

During negotiations at ACAS (the government established conciliation service) in February, the culmination of 7 months of pay talks, union reps pointed out the huge potential benefits of paying the LLW to the business in terms of staff retention, performance, improved sales from happier, more knowledgeable staff and the huge benefits of being able to call The Ritzy a Living Wage Employer. These arguments are backed by a growing number of businesses, as well as the Mayor of London. They were simply dismissed by the company.

Union members at The Ritzy are now engaged in strike action to try and win the LLW as a minimum rate for all workers there. They and their supporters have one question: where is Mooky Greidinger, the new Cineworld CEO, in all of this? Why is he allowing The Ritzy and Picturehouse brands to be damaged so badly in the eyes of customers, who have consistently supported the workers throughout their campaign? Has he even visited The Ritzy yet or gained any understanding of it's position at the heart of the local community?

We call on Mooky and Cineworld to think again and negotiate a fair settlement that ensures none of the workers at The Ritzy have to survive on less than the London Living Wage.

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