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Solid Picturehouse picket and protest
Claire Laker-Mansfield, Hackney Socialist Party
Around 30 striking workers and their supporters gathered outside Hackney Picturehouse on 31 March for a three-hour protest and picket. This marked the sixteenth strike organised by these workers since October 2016.
Morale was high and the strike was solid. An excellent turnout from the community offered everyone a boost.
The Socialist Party took part in the action, with members of the local branch handing out leaflets and helping to discuss the issues with passers-by, as well as with the cinema workers.
This was the latest action in an ongoing campaign demanding the London Living Wage and sick pay for cinema workers at this and other members of the Picturehouse chain.
Workers at two other Picturehouses - Ritzy and Central - were also taking strike action. This coordination is helping to escalate the pressure on management to meet the workers' demands.
Outrageously, Picturehouse management had drafted in a strikebreaking workforce from elsewhere, which was used to keep the cinema open in spite of the strike's solidity.
But the lively picket, combined with the protest and support organised from the community, meant that the cinema was almost empty for much of what would normally be a very busy Friday night. When confronted with the picket and protest, many members of the public chose to show solidarity with the strike and take their custom elsewhere.
The workers are clearly preparing for a fight to the finish. A further strike is being prepared for 15 April with action at all six sites and a gathering of strikers at the east Dulwich site which has voted to join the dispute.
In The Socialist 5 April 2017:
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