East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

Boycott Picturehouse?

The sign has gone back up on the front of the Ritzy, this time calling for a complete boycott of all Picturehouse and Cineworld Cinemas, and backed by our local MP, Helen Hayes. Here are the details:

That this House shares the concerns of the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union on the treatment of staff by Cineworld Cinemas; is concerned that Cineworld Cinemas staff do not all receive the Living Wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation, company maternity or paternity pay, or company sick pay, despite Cineworld Cinemas reporting a post-tax profit of £83.8 million in 2015; is further concerned about lack of competition in the cinema industry following Cineworld Cinemas’ acquisition of Empire Cinemas Ltd; and calls for Cineworld Cinemas to increase investment in worker welfare and pay all picturehouse staff the Living Wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation.

Will you be boycotting East Dulwich Picturehouse?

Sad really, because for a cinema that already seldom looks to be bursting at the seams, it would be exceedingly annoying if we all boycotted ED cinema and it ceased to be a viable Picturehouse location. Hope they sort it out soon.


[www.youtube.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was march 07, 12:10pm by Beej.

It says on the picturehouse website, £9.05 per hour in London compared to 7.20 living wage.

Pay rates at Picturehouse Cinemas

Pay rates and benefits are negotiated by the Forum, a recognised union with collective bargaining rights for all Picturehouse cinema staff excluding those working at the Ritzy. We negotiate pay rates each year and a new pay rate for 2016-2017 has just been agreed by a 72% majority vote. Our starting pay rates, not including any benefits, are £8.18 per hour in our regional cinemas and £9.05 in London, significantly above the Government legislated National Living Wage (£7.20 per hour) and Minimum Wage (£6.95 per hour). Pay is further enhanced by individual and cinema-wide shared bonus schemes.

[www.picturehouses.com]
I may be misremembering, but wasn't the issue with Picturehouse that they agreed to pay the London Living Wage - then turned round and said so we're going to sack X% of staff to pay for it?
Mick Mac Wrote:

It says on the picturehouse website, £9.05 per
hour in London compared to 7.20 living wage.


7.20 is minimum wage not in London (and is law)

Living wage is more 8.45 UK and 9.75 London (but is voluntary)

[www.livingwage.org.uk]



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit was march 07, 12:52pm by JohnL.

Yeah, I spotted that too, perhaps updating their website to the factually correct figures might be a good start for Picturehouse.
why go to the Picturehouse when we've got Peckham Plex!
Jules-and-Boo Wrote:

why go to the Picturehouse when we've got Peckham
Plex!

Really?
JohnL Wrote:

> Mick Mac Wrote:
--------------------------------------------------
-----
> It says on the picturehouse website, £9.05 per
> hour in London compared to 7.20 living wage.
>

7.20 is minimum wage not in London (and is law)

Living wage is more 8.45 UK and 9.75 London (but
is voluntary)

[www.livingwage.org.uk]
ge

Understand the concept, just quoting their website - but yes it seems they are being convenient with the truth in comparing their London wages to the non London living wage.
I haven't been to either option but I would go to PeckhamPlex every day of the week over Picturehouse. Cheaper, bigger capacity and you can grab some food in McDonalds nearby which won't break the bank! Who wants to spend the best part of £20 on a cinema ticket (not to mention the food costs) per person. Craziness.

Louisa.
The government didn't help when it called the national minimum wage the national living wage (it now
uses both I think) whilst the group that recommends living wage (and was recognized as doing so) has
a different figure.

Maybe it's all just meant to confuse
Louisa Wrote:

I haven't been to either option but I would go to
PeckhamPlex every day of the week over
Picturehouse. Cheaper, bigger capacity and you can
grab some food in McDonalds nearby which won't
break the bank! Who wants to spend the best part
of £20 on a cinema ticket (not to mention the food
costs) per person. Craziness.

Louisa.


And when people start complaining about low wages in London, this attitude is why...
"Yeah, I spotted that too, perhaps updating their website to the factually correct figures might be a good start for Picturehouse."

The Picturehouse website is accurate - you are confusing the National Living Wage (set by government, replaced the National Minimum Wage for over 25s) with the London Living Wage (calculated by the Living Wage Foundation, no legal status but they offer accreditation for employers).

I won't be boycotting the Picturehouse. I support the existence of a legal minimum wage and I think the doom laden predictions about resulting job losses have been largely proved to be wrong. On the other hand, I object strongly to the demonisation of any business that doesn't pay a self-defined 'living wage' as put out by an essentially political organisation. In particular, the methodology for calculating the LLW assumes that everyone over 18 is either renting their own place or paying private rent in a shared property (as far as I can see each of these is weighted approximately 50:50), which I suspect is the main element of the higher London rate. I don't buy that, either as a representation of reality or as a 'minimum standard'.
DaveR you don't believe London has a higher cost of living than other places in the UK? Are you living in cloud cuckoo land?
I'm definitely going to keep going there now I know there's no danger of hearing Louisa moaning in the background!

I've been to Peckham - good if you like mobile phones ringing, people talking, teenagers swearing, uncomfortable seats and sticky carpets. A few quid cheaper though and close to McDonalds if that's what floats your boat. I'm happy with Oddono's. Each to their own.
robbin Wrote:

I'm definitely going to keep going there now I
know there's no danger of hearing Louisa moaning
in the background!

I've been to Peckham - good if you like mobile
phones ringing, people talking, teenagers
swearing, uncomfortable seats and sticky carpets.
A few quid cheaper though and close to McDonalds
if that's what floats your boat. I'm happy with
Oddono's. Each to their own.


I use Peckham Plex all the time (at least twice a month) and have never experienced any of those things. How strange.

And, a few quid cheaper? £4.99 vs £13
I like that Robbin

I went to the opening Saturday night of the ED Picturehouse a year or two ago. I thought I was in the Almeida or the Donmar, with so many blazers and corduroy around.

That was a bit much, but there's no reason why cinema has to be watched in the terrible surroundings that exist in some cinemas.

The Plex is great value, but I'd prefer to spend the extra 5 pound.
DaveR you don't believe London has a higher cost of living than other places in the UK? Are you living in cloud cuckoo land?

I read it not as that, but as challenging the assumption that all over 18s were either owner occupiers or living in rented accommodation (on a 50:50 split). Certainly my over 18s lived at home (rent free) for a number of years before they entered more costly arrangements.

And for those voting for Peckham Plex - clearly I doubt whether this emporium is paying the London Living wage either - other reasons cited to choose them (cost, range of food availability, size of auditorium etc.) are to me far more convincing reasons. Don't choose the Plex just because of the dispute with Picture House, and think you are being appropriately 'right on'.
Mick Mac Wrote:

I like that Robbin

I went to the opening Saturday night of the ED
Picturehouse a year or two ago. I thought I was in
the Almeida or the Donmar, with so many blazers
and corduroy around.

That was a bit much, but there's no reason why
cinema has to be watched in the terrible
surroundings that exist in some cinemas.

The Plex is great value, but I'd prefer to spend
the extra 5 pound.

Agreed - I did too and it was certainly that type of crowd, but not since then has it been like that in my experience as a regular.

It's a way better experience than Peckham (for me) so well worth a few more quid - and yes, 5 or 8 quid is a few quid. I can even park close by and have a nice warm dry journey home in the car (after oddonos, of course).
The Peckham Plex and the Picturehouse are completely different offerings. If you can't understand why anyone would chose one over the other (either one), then you lack imagination.
Working in a cinema is low skilled work. They do well to get above the minimum wage. Cinema's would be economically unviable if you had to pay everyone this made up London Living Wage.
El Presidente Wrote:

Working in a cinema is low skilled work. They do
well to get above the minimum wage. Cinema's would
be economically unviable if you had to pay
everyone this made up London Living Wage.

In the first six months of 2016 Cineworld (owners of the Picturehouse group) made £30.6M profit, so if they wanted to they could pay the London Living Wage: Cineworld have 4,300 staff in the UK, so to pay all staff LLW would cost around £15M - in reality they have about 1,000 staff in London, so it would cost them around £4M. Also, the idea that just because (in your view anyway) a job is low skilled, does that mean those who do that job shouldn't even get the London Living Wage? No matter what the skill level of one's job, we all have to pay the same for transport, food, rent etc.
I love the Picturehouse, the cafe and the people who work there. It's my favourite thing in East Dulwich. I will not be boycotting it, but I'll make sure my tips continue to be generous.
"DaveR you don't believe London has a higher cost of living than other places in the UK? Are you living in cloud cuckoo land?"

That's not what I said. What I said was (but more clearly this time perhaps):

Unsurprisingly the LLW is based on a model that includes rent, but the model assumes that all single people over 18 are living independently. The Living Wage Foundation say explicitly on their website:

"The rates apply to all workers over 18 – in recognition that young people face the same living costs as everyone else"

Well, some do and some don't. But to say that £9.05/hour (what Picturehouse pay) is not a 'living wage' means, applying the model used to calculate it, 'not a wage that can allow someone to pay London market rent to rent a flat/studio/room in shared house'. Which may still be a valid criticism, but is not IMHO grounds for a boycott.
In the first six months of 2016 Cineworld (owners of the Picturehouse group) made £30.6M profit, so if they wanted to they could pay the London Living Wage: Cineworld have 4,300 staff in the UK, so to pay all staff LLW would cost around £15M - in reality they have about 1,000 staff in London, so it would cost them around £4M.

A quick look at their accounts suggests that (1) Cineworld earns about 50% of its revenues from the UK - the remainder from Israel and (old) Eastern Europe (2) the figures are EBITDA - so exclude interest payments, tax, amortization or depreciation - they are not net profit - so the amount of 'profit' shown is not additionally all available to pay staff in addition to the staff costs already covered to get to this sum.

Certainly they could probably pay their staff more - but also remember that the more they pay their staff the more employer's NI they also have to pay (but, as a positive, the less corporation tax they have to pay as their allowable costs have risen!) Depending on their agreement about pensions they may also have to make a larger contribution as salaries rise. (if they put in say 3% of salary that's now 3% of a larger salary).

I am not condoning them, simply pointing out that 'the sums' often aren't as easy to work out as it first seems.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was march 07, 05:40pm by Penguin68.

You don't think we can assume that people (especially the press, Helen Hayes MP, Mayor Sadiq Khan to name a few of the local heavy weigh supporters, have done their homework prior to supporting the boycott?

I don't know exactly how I feel about the London Living Wage, but I do know a few things: London is expensive, so it can't hurt to have it. If I was 18 and living at home paying no rent, it wouldn't be from choice. And lastly that I can't help but respect any workers who get together and stand up for themselves. I don't know the ethics behind Peckham Plex, but I do now know the ethics behind Cineworld, so, you make your choice, simples.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was march 07, 06:04pm by Beej.

I don't know the ethics behind Peckham Plex, but I do now know the ethics behind Cineworld, so, you make your choice, simples.

If you are making a choice about ethical behaviour, and you don't know how one of the two alternatives performs, then you may actually be making no choice at all. What if you are encouraging a firm which pays less even than Picture House? How does that sit with your conscience?
"You don't think we can assume that people (especially the press, Helen Hayes MP, Mayor Sadiq Khan to name a few of the local heavy weigh supporters, have done their homework prior to supporting the boycott?"

No - it would be safer to assume the opposite. Politicians like presenting situations as binary - this is right, this is wrong, and we're on the right side, support us. The press like an eye-catching story - 'Poverty wages paid by greedy fat cats - SHOCK!'. Life is almost always more complicated than that. And financial statements of listed companies definitely are.
Penguin68 Wrote:

I am not condoning them, simply pointing out that
'the sums' often aren't as easy to work out as it
first seems.

I freely admit I'm not the best with finance - just ask my bank manager, or indeed Mrs.H - but clearly Cineworld could afford to pay LLW, albeit by accepting lower profits. I was merely disputing the previous poster's point that cinemas would be economically unviable if they paid the LLW, which in the case of Cineworld/Picturehouse is clearly not the case.
If we want everyone in this town to earn the LLW, then we'll have to start paying more for our cinema tickets, burgers, pints of beer, packets of crisps, shoes, books and flat screen tv's.

While I totally support the theory behind it, I laugh at the idea that it can be implemented without price raises. Certainly there are places which could afford to pay more in wages. There's also a lot that can't, but which are unable to raise prices on the products/services they provide because there's a limit to what people will pay for stuff.

Antic Pub Co, owners of EDT, don't pay it. Why not boycott them? I'm pretty sure some of the staff in M+S aren't getting it. Boycott M+S? What about the various hair salons? Or Londis? Or even Sainsbury's? And I'd be surprised if Peckham Plex paid it. McDonalds certainly don't

There's plenty of places out there paying the same as Picturehouse which no one is talking about. Why just these guys? Vote with your wallet by all means, it's one of few things the head office will listen too. But don't kid yourself that it makes a difference in the grand scheme of things.

Then again, everything starts somewhere...Though I guarantee it'll lead to increased prices. If you're willing to pay them then good on you.
rendelharris Wrote:

> Penguin68 Wrote:
--------------------------------------------------
-----

> I am not condoning them, simply pointing out
that
> 'the sums' often aren't as easy to work out as
it
> first seems.

I freely admit I'm not the best with finance -
just ask my bank manager, or indeed Mrs.H - but
clearly Cineworld could afford to pay LLW, albeit
by accepting lower profits. I was merely
disputing the previous poster's point that cinemas
would be economically unviable if they paid the
LLW, which in the case of Cineworld/Picturehouse
is clearly not the case.


Well, as Penguin points out, those profit figures are far from being a clear picture of what Cineworld can actually afford to pay in wages. However, I wonder if they have shareholders, because if they do there's your answer - I have a hard time imagining that any shareholders will tolerate lower dividends; they don't tend to!

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