Cinema City Norwich among 24 venues caught up in boycott call by stars including Susan Sarandon and Sir Ian McKellen
- Credit: PA
Movie and television stars are calling on film-goers to boycott a national chain which owns Norwich's Cinema City over concerns for workers' pay and conditions.
Susan Sarandon, Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart and Ken Loach are among 25 actors and screenwriters who have signed a letter backing the boycott of Picturehouse Cinemas nationwide.
The document was sent to the chief executive of Cineworld which owns the chain.
Picturehouse Cinemas runs 24 cinemas across Britain including Cinema City on St Andrew's Street.
Cinema City managers would not comment on the letter or the boycott call from high-profile stars.
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Part of the document reads: 'We find it disappointing that you fail to pay your lowest paid staff the living wage. We therefore support your workers in their call for a public boycott of Picturehouse and Cineworld.
'Cineworld is a very successful company that made a substantial profit of £83.8m in 2015, and it is vitally important to share your success with your workforce.
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'Workers should not have to live below the real living wage when your company has the means to set a great example by adhering to the ethical pay structures proposed in the living staff living wage pay claim.'
The letter backs a campaign by cinema workers demanding better rights and pay.
A statement from Picturehouse Cinemas defending its pay structure 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.
'We pay all staff for their breaks, offer a number of other perks, and of course provide sick pay and four weeks holiday a year.'
It added starting pay rates, not including benefits, were £8.18 at regional cinemas.
The national living wage is £7.20 per hour and minimum wage is £6.95 per hour.
Picturehouse Cinemas said that in bid to attract 'great people' its staff could choose guaranteed hour contracts or flexible zero hour contacts.