Picket support for HOYTS staff threatened with lock-out

By Mānia Clarke

Unite union members and supporters are taking industrial action in support of HOYTS cinema staff who have rejected pay negotiations by management. Staff members have been threatened with a month-long lockout should they take any strike action.

A call and toots of support for HOYTS workers who say they don't want to be bullied.

“Hoyts have threatened staff with being locked out, which is why a group of us from the union and supporters have come to picket, this is not a strike so that the staff can keep their jobs,” said Unite spokesperson, Jeremy Roundill.

The threat comes after union members rejected a 3-year offer that would see staff not on base rates be forced back to the minimum wage. 

“The main concern is wages will decrease, especially those who are skilled and experts in this type of work. So their pay will be less than the living wage,” said Roundill.

For the last three months, Unite has been in talks with Hoyts management over pay negotiations, which has proved unfruitful.

In a memo from HOYTS to staff, they said: employees who take a strike or a partial strike action would be locked out of employment in response to the strike.

“The staff are fed up. We've been negotiating for a while, HOYTS Australia came and they rejected our requests.”

In a statement to Te Kaea HOYTS said they respect the right of their employees to strike, however they will take action if they believe their guests are being impacted in any way.

Unite plan to meet with HOYTS to resume talks in the near future.