Cinema chain Picturehouse has been urged by the leader of Lambeth Council to begin paying its staff the London Living Wage (LLW) as it prepares to open a new branch in the borough.
Lib Peck described the failure of Picturehouse to increase its hourly rate to the current LLW rate of £10.20 an hour as a “major issue” which “risks the success” of the West Norwood Picturehouse, which will open early next month.
Pecks’s comments are included in a letter to Claire Binns, the deputy managing director of Picturehouse Cinemas Limited, expressing her pleasure that the venue is to be open to the public along with a council library in “a wonderful resource for learning, culture and entertainment”.
The facility, to be housed in Nettlefold Hall, has been jointly financed by the council and Picturehouse and is set to open during Living Wage Week, when the London Mayor Sadiq Khan is expected to announce a new, higher rate calculated by the Living Wage Foundation.
In her letter, first reported by the Brixton Blog, Peck says she is “happy to facilitate a meeting” between Picturehouse and the Foundation and argues that “the London Living Wage make sense from both an employer and employee perspective” as it “provides security to employees, allows employers to recruit excellent staff and send a message of commitment to good employment practices.”
Picturehouse pay rates have been the object of a two-year industrial dispute, including boycott campaigns and strikes by staff at another Lambeth Picturehouse-owned cinema, the Ritzy in Brixton, and in Hackney. Lambeth Council is an LLW employer, one of the first councils in the capital to become one, an its Nettlefold Hall library staff will receive the voluntary LLW rate for their work.
Brixton Blog reports that Picturehouse said in statement all its 25 West Norwood staff would on fixed-term contracts and paid a minimum of £9.99 per hour plus monthly bonuses. It said this will make them “among the highest-paid employees on the high street.”