Workers go on strike against Rio despite management claim that it pays more than many

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Fair pay for fair work: Rio staff feel forced to go on strike
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Cartoon poster shows Rio manager Oliver Meek as the puppet of board chairman and City lawyer Patrick Lyons, who is under pressure to resign

* UPDATE 250516: In the face of hardening attitudes by the board and management, the Rio strike went ahead, as the pictures from Wednesday 25 May 2016 show.

* UPDATE 200516: Diane Abbott is to talk to the Rio today. The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington told Loving Dalston: “I will be visiting them to see what I can do to help them in their current plight.”


THE RIO is to go on strike. Staff at the dispute-hit cinema, which has resisted paying a good wage, this week voted overwhelmingly to go on strike on Wednesday 25 May 2016.

The worsening of the relationship between the cinema and its low-paid workers is only the latest of many problems they have had with the board-led cinema.

Staff had to get their union, Bectu, to help them to retrieve pay that was withheld from them, and the London Living Wage, paid by many organisations, has been vigorously opposed by the Rio, although it styles itself a community cinema.

Forced last month by a Tory government to award a tiny pay rise to staff aged over 25, the movie house has said that will require staff cuts.

Even big companies that have been criticised for trying to allay the alleged effects of the rise in the minimum wage, confusingly termed the National Living Wage, have not demanded staffing-level reductions.

All the strike pix have been supplied by the Save The Soul of the Rio group

Executive director Oliver Meek told Loving Dalston: “Worth mentioning is that five of the staff who voted in the ballot asked for redundancy voluntarily and only 13 of a total of 31 staff voted to strike.

“All redundancies are deeply regrettable. My main commitment is to deliver better pay and a more sustainable future for the cinema.

“As a result of my restructure, all staff will get a pay increase of at least 5%. The lowest-paid, who make up more than half of the workforce, will get a pay rise of 12.5% up to £8.10 an hour.

“This is higher than at many London cinemas.” He added that the Rio had posted on its website a statement.

David Altheer 120516

* First with the latest: no news outlet has published more inside information on the bumpy ride of the Rio than Loving Dalston. The Hackney Gazette on 19 May 2016 ran as “exclusive” a version of the first item mentioned under Backstory below. Loving Dalston revealed the second-screen plan a full 12 days earlier. And a Hackney freesheet caught up with the news only on Friday 14 May 2016, two days after Loving Dalston. Coming soon: the freesheet version of the Loving Dalston story on the Russet?

Rio early 1970s. Pic from Greater London’s Suburban Cinemas 1946-86 by Malcolm Webb (pub Amber Valley Typesetting) © David.Altheer[at]gmail.com
Hard times: as the Tatler in early 1970s, the cinema screened soft porn. Pic from Greater London’s Suburban Cinemas 1946-86

* Backstory: Rio plans another screenRio panicClapton cinema gets crowdfunder cashNew trouble at Dalston cinemaRio fails to keep out unionMr Rio quitsMultimillion-pound Hackney giveawayRio begs fans for moneyRio first for Corbyn niece

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