Cinema staff call off strikes over pay concerns

Cinema workers have called off strikes saying they were threatened with losing more pay beyond the hours they were due to take action.

Staff at a number of Picturehouse cinemas in London were set to walk out from this weekend at the start of a series of 13 stoppages.

The workers are involved in a long-running dispute over the voluntary living wage.

They said they received a letter from the company citing a 2015 court decision relating to a strike by academic staff which ruled that partial performance, or walking out for a few hours rather than a full shift, could mean the loss of an entire shift's pay.

"The loss of up to 13 days of wages, and an expectation to work for free, is a deduction few low-paid Picturehouse workers would be able to afford," the workers said.

Gruff Jones, who works at the Hackney Picturehouse, said: "We had chosen to undertake a symbolic strike rather than all-out disruptive one. The point was to remind those who employ us that we are essential to the running of the cinema.

"We didn't intend to shut the cinema for the whole day. However, as a result of this move by management we have no choice but for all future strikes to last the entire day."

Workers at five Picturehouse cinemas went ahead with a strike on Saturday and will take action on Sunday but a further 11 days of stoppages from Monday have been called off.

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