Veteran film director, Ken Loach, has called the decision not to show his latest film at a cinema in Bath "a reprisal" over his support for striking cinema workers in Brixton.
The Little Theatre in Bath usually puts on benefit screenings of Loach’s films to raise money for the local football team, Bath City FC. This year, the theatre, part of the Picturehouse chain, has refused to host the event – a decision that Loach blames on his support for striking cinema workers. Loach told the Bath Chronicle newspaper:
“The Picturehouse has a lot of cinemas, one of those is called the Ritzy in Brixton, in London, and the staff there are campaigning for the Living London Wage, which Picturehouse say they won’t pay.
“I gave a public statement in support of the staff, and it seems like this is a reprisal.”
Picturehouse Cinemas was bought by the Cineworld group for £47m in 2012, making them part of the largest chain of cinemas in the UK. Staff at the Ritzy — which, according to figures submitted in its annual report, increased profits by 140% in 2012 — have been calling on Picturehouse to pay the London Living Wage (LLW) of £8.80 per hour. So far, the company has refused to budge, leading to strikes which have shut the cinema.
Other high-profile supporters from the world of film have included Trainspotting and Filth author, Irvine Welsh, who said:
“The clue is in the name: London. Living. Wage. Picturehouse. Times may be hard for cinema operators, but they’re a damn sight harder for cinema staff. Please do the right thing here.”
Image from Ritzy Living Wage Facebook Group