Scotland's oldest arthouse cinema agrees landmark union recognition

Glasgow Film Theatre has become the first cinema in Scotland to sign a voluntary recognition agreement with Unite Hospitality.

Glasgow Film Theatre agrees landmark union recognition with Unite Hospitality Glasgow Film

One of the leading independent cinemas in Scotland has agreed a landmark union recognition with Unite, in a country first.

Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT), one of the city’s most important cultural institutions, has become the first cinema in Scotland to sign a voluntary recognition agreement with Unite Hospitality.

The union will now represent hospitality staff at the venue including front of house and cleaning teams.

The recognition agreement will formalise collective bargaining and negotiation on pay and workplace policy.

The move will give staff a greater say in working conditions and benefits.

Unite say the GFT have “existing progressive employment practices” including commitment to the real Living Wage and guaranteed minimum hours.

Recent consultation with Unite Hospitality has also led to harmonised sick pay.

Formally known as the Cosmo before becoming the GFT in 1974, the cinema originally opened in 1939 as Scotland’s first independent arthouse cinema.

After 84-years, the cinema is now an educational charity and remains home of arthouse film in Glasgow.

It originally started a single screen theatre with 850 seats and has evolved to three screens and a programme of more than 600 films a year.

Allison Gardner, Glasgow Film chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have finalised this agreement with Unite on behalf of our staff. The GFT recognise the benefits that an engaged staff, with collective voice, will bring to Glasgow Film as we continue to navigate challenging and uncertain times together as a team.”

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Following months of positive negotiations between our Unite reps and GFT management, we are delighted to agree collective bargaining at one of the country’s leading cultural institutions.

“This is a landmark agreement which is already producing positive impacts on the jobs, pay and conditions of our members. The GFT is not only one of the best cinemas in the country to visit but also work for following this exciting development in the sector.”

Katie Mack, Unite Rep at GFT, said: “We believe that it is crucial to have official recognition of our right to collectively bargain as a workforce, and we are pleased that Glasgow Film Theatre has chosen to respect our decision to organise with Unite the Union.

“This decision will help to ensure that we maintain a positive and respectful work environment moving forward.”

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