Fears over redundancies at Dublin’s Savoy cinema

Staff say hours reduced following addition of Screen workers and morale at ‘rock bottom’

Management of the Savoy in Dublin are to engage in talks with Siptu at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) amid the prospect of possible redundancies at the cinema. Image: Google Streetview.

Management of the Savoy in Dublin are to engage in talks with Siptu at the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) amid the prospect of possible redundancies at the cinema. Image: Google Streetview.

 

Management of the Savoy in Dublin are to engage in talks with Siptu at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) amid the prospect of possible redundancies at the cinema.

It is understood the IMC group which owns the O’Connell Street multiplex wants to eliminate the usher grade of employee there, a move that would result in the loss of four full-time jobs.

Ushers at the cinema have been told that they will be subject to a compulsory redundancy process, but the affected staff who are all represented by the Siptu union are unwilling to comply with this course of action.

It is believed that the prospect of redundancies was first introduced by management at the Savoy during a meeting with employees two months ago, but IMC has since agreed to enter into talks with Siptu.

Some of the unrest stems from IMC’s decision to close Screen cinema in Dublin 2 in February and transfer two of its staff to the Savoy, with existing employees complaining of reduced hours and poorer working conditions at the Savoy to accommodate the extra workers.

Staff transfers

The three remaining full-time Screen workers were initially offered full redundancy, however, this was later withdrawn in place of a transfer to the Savoy.

“At the moment they’re looking at doing away with the ushers’ grades, and obviously we do have a difficulty with that because they provide a particular role in the cinema at the moment,” said Siptu representative Graham Macken.

“The individuals who were moved from the Screen, it was their preference at the time to consider redundancy but that was taken off the table. Now they’re suggesting there are four people going to be pushed out who don’t want to go, it’s not helpful that kind of carry-on.”

Probably the capital’s most recognisable cinema theatre, the Savoy was first opened in 1929 and regularly hosts the Irish premieres of box office films.

Staff at the cinema have complained of “rock-bottom” morale since the current dispute began earlier this year.

“The feeling in the staff here is that we love the Savoy, we’ve got a lot of older staff who see it as an institution in Dublin,” John McDonald, a cinema general operative and shop steward at the Savoy, told The Irish Times.

“There was a skeleton crew of staff in the Screen and that appears to be what’s happening here now.”

Management at IMC has not yet responded to a request for comment from The Irish Times.