Cineworld needs to see the bigger picture


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The Independent Online

Outlook Paying London's service workers a living wage is not just a moral imperative. It makes economic sense for the businesses that do it.

This is why companies ranging from Barclays to KPMG – neither renowned for their cuddliness – have signed up to pay it and have made a big noise about it.

When you pay a proper wage, you are much more likely to receive a proper service in return. The ancillary staff who look after your high-fliers stay in post for longer, are less inclined to absenteeism, and do a better job. It provides you with an easy PR win.

You would have thought, then, that a company such as Cineworld would have worked this out. Its low-waged staff don't look after other high-flying employees. They look after customers, and customer service tends to suffer if staff are grumpy and feel hard done by.

The employees of the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton feel sufficiently hard done by that they're taking industrial action.

Picturehouse – Cineworld gobbled it up a while back – has harrumphed that the London living wage is something that can't be forecast, and says it can't run a business based on such imponderables.

Here's something that's easy to predict: strikes damage your business.

If the managers at the Picturehouse won't listen to their employees, or to their union, perhaps the auditors – funnily enough they're from KPMG – might like to have a quiet word.