CINEMA workers have voted to continue taking strike action in a row over pay, almost a year after the dispute started.

Members of the Bectu union at Picturehouse venues in Brighton and London decided in ballots to renew the mandate for industrial action by more than 9-1.

Almost 60 strikes have been held over the past 11 months as part of a campaign to be paid the voluntary living wage of £9.75 in London and £8.45 outside London, higher than the official figure of £7.50 an hour for over 25-year-olds.

The Picturehouse cinema in Brighton is the Duke of York's in Preston Road.

Union spokesman Alisdair Cairns said: "The tactics employed by Picturehouse have appeared to be deliberate attempts to grind us down and demoralise us.

"We've received countless threats from their lawyers, we've seen our friends and colleagues needlessly disciplined and in some cases sacked, and we've still heard nothing with regards to resuming negotiations.

"These ballots show conclusively that the management's strategy hasn't worked, and that we are just as determined as ever to win the living wage and fair, reasonable working conditions."

A Picturehouse Cinemas statement said: "Paying our staff a fair wage is hugely important and we're proud to be one of the highest paying companies in the cinema industry.

"Our staff package includes a monthly bonus scheme and paid breaks which usually brings wages to meet or exceed the voluntary London living wage and significantly above the minimum wage.

"We offer a range of benefits, flexible working and statutory sick, maternity and holiday pay. Staff have a recognised union called the Forum which gives them collective bargaining rights on pay and benefits and the last pay rate was agreed by a 72 per cent majority."

Back in March The Argus reported when staff went on strike at the Duke of York's.

Bectu member Pippa Sa then told The Argus: "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."