A STRUGGLE by staff at the Rio has ended in defeat for the board. Workers at the cinema, above, have the won the right for a union to negotiate for them.
The campaign against the cinema’s refusal of the right to organise ended when the government body for union recognition ordered the Rio to offer it.
By last summer 2014 81 per cent of Rio staff had signed a petition for union recognition. Staff were also applying for Bectu membership, and soon 59 per cent had joined.
Told that union membership of more than 50 per cent in an organisation or company entitled the union to automatic recognition, the Rio board said it would recognise the union for the legal minimum – negotiation on pay, hours and holidays – and no more.
The members held out for the general manager to be allowed to join – the board resisted. So Bectu national official Sofie Mason made a claim to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) for an all-embracing bargaining unit. Mason said: “A very warm thank-you to all members at Rio Dalston for their perseverance, dignity and determination to stay united.”
It was left to the CAC to impose the full bargaining unit. The union has since been helping members at the venue to get Rio agreement on the formal recognition document and staff have held elections for representatives to support members.
The living wage, which is still not being paid at the Hackney Picturehouse, has been one of the first issues raised.
Rio general manager Charles Rubinstein gave the board his notice around the time of the dispute.
David Altheer 200515
* Backstory: Multimillion-pound Hackney cinema; Rio’s new boss promises changes; Rio boss quits; Rio begs for funds; Picturehouse scores community festival and Millions spent on site given away by Hackney
* Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland High Street, Dalston E8 2PB
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained. Most photographs can be visually enlarged by pressing on them.