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Euan Green and Katie Mack
Job title
Unite reps
The Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) is Scotland’s oldest cinema, first opening its doors 84 years ago back in 1939. New Unite reps at GFT, Euan Green, age 26 and 27-year-old Katie Mack, talked to the TUC about their campaign. 

Katie said: “There were quite a lot of new starters at the cinema after lockdown, so a whole team of us started working there together. 

“A few issues began to crop up. For example, we were only given 13.5-hour contracts but most of us wanted more hours – and we were regularly working more hours anyway, so we wanted that reflected in our contracts. 

“Holiday pay was done pro rata and it was confusing. And there were concerns that some staff had been underpaid. 

“We were all originally hired as temps for Christmas, but then kept on these temporary contracts for a long time, with months of probation.”  

Euan added: “There was quite a lot of confusion over the Living Wage. We just wanted clarity and transparency.” 

The benefits of union membership 

Euan went on to explain: “We were concerned about these issues, and we started to have discussions amongst ourselves about the benefits of union membership, sticking together and being organised.” 

One of the members of staff met Bryan Simpson, the lead organiser for Unite Hospitality, at an event. And then around six GFT staff went to meet with Bryan. 

Euan and Katie reflected on how passionate, dedicated and hard-working Bryan came across to those staff when they met him – and by the end of the meeting all the GFT staff were on board with pushing for Unite recognition and membership at work. 

Katie said: “After the meeting, we went back and put in a collective grievance letter to our CEO, outlining the issues that we felt needed to be addressed. 

“We then had an initial meeting with the CEO off the back of that, but nothing really came of it.” 

Euan added: “We then had an appeal meeting where we managed to agree on some improvements – not everything! But enough to get started. 

“We had bi-monthly meetings on agreed topics and the union recognition agreement was always on the table. There was a bit of back on forth on this, but we kept coming back to it, and after around a year the agreement was finalised this month (August). We are all delighted!” 

Katie explained: “Given it’s an independent cinema with an ethical outlook, I think we had the right set of conditions in place to push for the union recognition agreement. I’ve worked in commercial cinema chains, and I don’t think we would have had a hope of securing anything similar there.” 

Good position to negotiate change 

Euan is looking forward to the difference having union recognition will make for the staff. He said: “Being part of Unite puts us in a good position to negotiate positive changes at work. 

“We are now all being paid the Real Living Wage not the Glasgow Living Wage. 

“We’ve got most people joining the union now, and the cleaning team are included as well as we are all paid the same. 

“We have regular contact with our regional rep Brian who’s always on hand to offer help and advice.” 

Euan encouraged others who don’t currently have union recognition to consider it. He said: “I’d say the best thing to do is start talking to your colleagues about issues at work and what a difference union membership can make. 

“Take it slowly, get people on board one or two at a time, bring the majority with you – then you can reach out to a union who represents workers in your industry and take it from there.” 

More than six million workers in the UK are in a union – from nurses to pilots, actors to lorry drivers. Find the right union for you, today:  

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