Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

Posted on 19 December 2016 at 12:56 GMT

Support mounts for Picturehouse strikers

Hackney Picturehouse workers striking for the London Living Wage, 4.11.16, photo Mark Best

Hackney Picturehouse workers striking for the London Living Wage, 4.11.16, photo Mark Best   (Click to enlarge)

Clare Doyle

The young workers at the Picturehouse cinema in Hackney chose last weekend for more days of strike action as it saw the launch of the new Star Wars film - Rogue One. One of the pickets, Louis MacGillivray, regails the public and keeps up the spirits of his striking colleagues by singing out their demands to the tune of Star Wars (see video below).

Managers have been mobilised from other cinemas to try to keep the Picturehouse open, but few film-goers seemed prepared to go in. Support from the public is actually mounting, with passers-by handing over 20 notes to get the freezing pickets some teas and coffees or to put in the strike fund.

The workers are still angry. They say their employer must be losing thousands of pounds now, and could easily afford their modest claim for a living wage and proper maternity and sickness arrangements.

The strikers told me that the company bought the cinema - in the centre of Hackney - for just 1, and last year the group had a profit of over 83 million. The struggle goes on!

Hackney Picturehouse workers striking for the London Living Wage, 4.11.16, photo Mark Best

Hackney Picturehouse workers striking for the London Living Wage, 4.11.16, photo Mark Best   (Click to enlarge)

Video of chanting on strike

Additional report, 22.12.16, from Brian Debus:

Dozens of Picturehouse workers in Hackney started their five-day strike for a living wage on Thursday 15 December.

On the previous six days of strike action Picturehouse management had been forced to close the cinema down. This time they had brought in managers from as far afield as Oxford to try to break the strike.

Workers reported that staff on probation were forced to do double shifts on strike days under the duress of facing the sack.

Management had also served a threatening legal letter on Bectu, the workers' trade union, to restrict the picket line to six members and force the other strikers onto the other side of the road.

Management normally only employs one security person, but on each strike day there were four, being paid up to 20 an hour for shifts of between 8 and 12 hours over the five days.

Money is no problem for parent company Cineworld that made 83.8 million profit in 2015, except when it comes to increasing its workers' wages by 98p an hour to match the London Living Wage of 9.75 an hour.

This did not prevent the mainly young workforce from creating one of the most lively protests in recent times. With a percussion band, music centre, megaphoned rhyming chants, dancing and mass leafletting of the public they definitely caused a stir.

With the launch of the new Star Wars movie an appropriate placard on the picket line said 'Don't cross over to the Darkside'.

Many potential patrons turned round at the picket line and went elsewhere, and many more with pre-booked tickets went inside and claimed a refund and came back out to congratulations from the pickets.

At the end of the five days the strikers were in good spirits and looking forward to their next strike on Thursday 22 December.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 19 December 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

Related links:


triangleFighting Tory cuts to the schools budget

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: NHS and social care in crisis - what solution?

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: School cuts can be stopped!

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: What is Blair's real legacy?

trianglePicturehouse cinema strike spreads


triangleGentrification, class and race in Brixton film

triangleNewham socialists attend 'I, Daniel Blake' film night

triangleHow black women fought racism and sexism at Nasa

triangleCanterbury Socialist Party attends 'I, Daniel Blake' film night


triangleSolid Picturehouse picket and protest

trianglePicturehouse strikers blockade Leicester Square

triangleVibrant Picturehouse pickets in continued living wage strike

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Camden evacuation - residents expose fire risks


Grenfell Tower

Justice for Grenfell and safety for all


British Airways

Cabin crew calls two-week walkout over blacklisting accusations



Canterbury pride


Young people

Young socialists share ideas at London meeting



Protests around the country demand: Tories out!



Unison conference: "A sense of change"


East London

Barts Trust NHS workers vote for action over pay



Manchester housing maintenance dispute steps up action


South Wales

Welsh college strike against crippling workload


Grenfell Tower

Unions call for action after Grenfell


Grenfell Tower

Anger and grief on moving Grenfell marches


Grenfell Tower

Photos of Friday's demonstrations, protests and solidarity



Protest at the Queens Speech



Jobcentre strike grows in second round of action

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle24 Jun Camden evacuation - residents expose fire risks

triangle21 Jun Justice for Grenfell and safety for all

triangle21 Jun Cabin crew calls two-week walkout over blacklisting accusations

triangle21 Jun Anger and grief on moving Grenfell marches

triangle21 Jun The Queen's Speech; and defending the right to protest

triangle20 Jun Whole establishment exposed for role in Grenfell fire

triangle20 Jun Tories and May stagger on amid crisis - get them out!

More ...

triangle24 Jun Tamil Solidarity Day

triangle25 Jun East Midlands Socialist Party: Rebellion - Then and Now

triangle1 Jul London: Tories Out national demonstration

triangle3 Jul West Cheshire Socialist Party: Prepare for the next steps towards JC4PM

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice