Rio staff taking action against bosses in ongoing pay dispute

Protesters outside the Rio Cinema in Dalston last year (Picture: Julia Sukan del Rio)

Protesters outside the Rio Cinema in Dalston last year (Picture: Julia Sukan del Rio) - Credit: Archant

Staff at Dalston’s Rio cinema are taking action against bosses, claiming they are trying to block negotiations about wages and conditions.

There has been a long-running dispute over payment and potential job cuts at the independent picturehouse in Kingsland High Street.

And in the latest development, workers’ union Bectu, which represents three of the 28 staff at the cinema, has written to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) to seek a panel hearing.

They say bosses are refusing to say when they will share their finances, are not sharing their definition of pay and hours and are refusing to set a date for a future meeting.

Bectu’s Sofie Mason, said: “This is a very sad day indeed as Bectu members and reps have done everything they can in this year’s negotiations to try to rebuild a constructive relationship after the months of confrontation last year.

“We had high hopes of at least a constructive conversation developing but it became apparent that the same old stonewalling and disrespect of staff was still very firmly behind the board’s surface civilities.”

The bombshell comes just days before the cinema’s AGM on Sunday, and Rio’s executive director Oliver Meeks has claimed the timing is no coincidence.

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He told the Gazette: “I’m a bit baffled by it. They say we won’t share our finances but we are a charity – you can download our finances on the website.

“It’s our AGM on Sunday and they threatened six months ago to disrupt it. Our workforce are happy and excited about the future. They had a pay rise in June and Bectu came back in October asking for another one. We said we couldn’t afford to give them another one for a year.

“Bectu is just trying to stir up trouble but I will happily go to a hearing and probably lodge a complaint for a number of things Sofie Mason has done.”

Bectu expects to hear back from the CAC next week.