HELEN HAYES QUIZZES THERESA MAY OVER RITZY PAY
Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes has tabled two early day motions in the House of Commons – one on the lack of a living wage by Picturehouse cinemas to staff at the Ritzy, Brixton and another on the closure of local postal delivery offices.
But when the Labour MP tried to raise the Ritzy issue during Prime Minister’s question time in the House she was met with a very tart reply from Theresa May:
Helen Hayes: On Saturday, the shadow Chancellor and I joined staff from Picturehouse Cinemas outside the Ritzy in Brixton who are striking because their employer refuses to pay the London living wage and has outrageously sacked their trade union representative.
Will the Prime Minister join me in calling on Picturehouse Cinemas, which made a profit last year of more than £80 million, to pay its staff the London living wage and to reinstate the local reps immediately?
To which Theresa May replied: That is about a relationship between employers and their employees. Overall, what is of importance is that the Government are taking the right decisions to ensure that we are growing the economy and providing those jobs for people in the first place.
The two early day motions read as follows:
That this House condemns the action by Picturehouse, a subsidiary of Cineworld Cinemas, in sacking three union representatives involved in organising recent strike action at the Ritzy and other cinemas, and in suspending one further member of staff; 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 Â£83.8 million in 2015; and calls for Cineworld Cinemas to cease victimising trade union activists, increase investment in worker welfare, pay all Picturehouse staff the living wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation, and negotiate with its staff.
The second on post office closures – where Helen Hayes has been fighting the proposed closure of West Norwood sorting office and transferring the service to Anerley – reads:
That this House notes that Royal Mail provides vital public services in the delivery of letters and parcels and the provision of PO Box services; further notes that when it was privatised by the Coalition Government in 2013 concerns were raised about the continued provision of local delivery offices, but that no safeguards were put in place to stop asset-stripping in the form of forced closures and sale of local delivery offices; condemns the current delivery office closure programme which is threatening the accessibility of Royal Mail services in many communities across the UK, and which has a particular impact on vulnerable residents and young families; further condemns the absence of any requirement for public consultation in relation to delivery office closures; and calls on the Government to intervene to preserve local delivery offices and protect Royal Mail against asset-stripping.
Early Day Motions (EDMs) are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. Very few are actually debated. EDMs allow MPs to draw attention to an event or cause. MPs register their support by signing individual motions.
The Royal Mail motion (number 185 tabled July 13th) has attracted 50 signatures, the Ritzy motion (number 141 tabled July 6th) has attracted 36 signatures including that of Ellie Reeves, Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge.