EXCLUSIVE: BECTU turns to Curzon, other venues, as Ritzy deal nears.

Media and entertainment union BECTU is nearing a deal with Picturehouse/Cineworld after a protracted pay dispute between the exhibitor and staff at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton, London.

Last week, BECTU members at the Ritzy rejected Picturehouse’s latest pay proposal by a vote of 24 to 23. However, both sides have expressed optimism that a resolution is near and officials are due to meet on Wednesday (Sept 3) to continue talks.

“Whilst we are disappointed with this outcome [of the latest ballot], we are pleased that we are close to finding a resolution,” Picturehouse commented last week.

Ritzy staff have conducted 13 strike actions since the dispute began earlier this year.

BECTU is now turning its campaign for exhibitors to pay the London Living Wage on Curzon Cinemas and other independent venues.

A BECTU official described discussions with Curzon as “constructive”.

The spokesman added: “At the moment the Ritzy and Curzon cinemas are our main focus. We’ll evaluate further strategy after these are resolved.”

However, the official admitted that other independent venues will be on the union’s radar in the near future.

While the high turnover of staff makes negotiations with commercial chains more difficult, the official admitted that “Cineworld would be a logical first step [for discussions with commercial chains], in part because it owns Picturehouse.”