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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 July 2014

And now for something completely different... a barricaded cinema

James Ivens

Pickets at Ritzy Picturehouse in south London were faced by corrugated metal walls during their last strike. Management at the Brixton cinema erected barriers outside the live screening of sketch troupe Monty Python's reunion gig on Sunday 20 July.

Members of entertainment union Bectu, currently paid 7.53 an hour, have been campaigning for the London Living Wage. The last strike was their eleventh day of action to win the 8.80 rate.

Previously, Picturehouse management has habitually closed the cinema on strike days. The Python live stream marked the first time outside workers were brought in to break the strike. Reps organised a peaceful mass picket to disrupt the event.

Several ticket-holders reportedly handed back stubs and demanded refunds. Terry Jones, a surviving member of Monty Python, also urged his audience not to cross the picket line in a tweet.

One rep summed up management's attitude as "bitter and childish".

Bectu members have had success in using other strike days to build the union in nearby Picturehouse branches. Spreading the dispute would be a major step forward for the campaign. Workers have also called for a national boycott of Picturehouse.

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