STAFF at the country’s oldest continuously running cinema went on strike on Saturday.

Front-of-house staff at the Duke of York’s, in Preston Road, Brighton, took action in a dispute over pay and union recognition.

The workers are calling on Picturehouse, owned by Cineworld, to pay the living wage and recognise their chosen union.

Unionise Dukes, the campaign behind the strike, wants Cineworld to pay workers £8.45 an hour to help them deal with the rising cost of living in Brighton and Hove.

The campaign also wants recognition of their chosen union, the BECTU sector of Prospect, and de-recognition of the Picturehouse Forum which is funded by the company.

Prospect BECTU member Pippa Sa said: “The Living Wage would enable us to afford Brighton.

“Living costs, products and goods and train fares are rising.

“Without the living wage its really hard for us to be able to afford any of this stuff. And we are all on zero contracts so there is no guarantee of work.”

Strikers also are demanding action to fix technical and IT issues which they claim have plagued the cinema for more than two years and are causing stress for staff and customers.

Union member Isaac Carroll, said: “Our computers just go down.

“Online, it makes it impossible to buy tickets.

“Customers have no way of knowing if they’ll be able to do fundamental things like buying tickets.”

The action outside the cinema attracted around 80 people at its height including colleagues from The Ritzy in Brixton, where there is also a dispute over the living wage and union recognition.

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas also made an appearance.

Picturehouse said their pay rates starting from £8.18 per hour, above the Goverment legislated National Living Wage (£7.20 per hour) and Minimum Wage (£6.95 per hour). 

In a statement on their website Picturehouse Cinemas said: "For many years Picturehouse Cinemas has paid its front of house customer service staff well above minimum wage.

"Our pay rates are amongst the highest in the industry and have enabled us to attract and retain staff who are knowledgeable about film, skilled in many areas and able to offer high levels of service."