Scotland’s leading independent cinema has announced a landmark union recognition with Unite in a first for the country’s cinema sector

Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) is one of the country’s most cherished and culturally important institutions. It has now become the first cinema in Scotland to sign a voluntary recognition agreement with Unite Hospitality, who will now represent hospitality staff. 

The recognition agreement, which covers staff working in GFT’s front of house and cleaning teams, will formalise collective bargaining and negotiation on their pay and relevant workplace policies.

The agreement gives staff a greater say in future changes to working conditions and benefits. It also builds on the GFT’s existing progressive employment practices which include a longstanding commitment to paying the real Living Wage and guaranteed minimum hours, and - following recent consultation with Unite Hospitality staff reps - harmonised sick pay.

The Cosmo – later to become Glasgow Film Theatre in 1974 – opened in 1939 as Scotland’s first independent arthouse cinema. 84 years on, and now an educational charity, GFT remains the home of film in Glasgow and the public’s favourite independent cinema.

From a single screen theatre with 850 seats, it has evolved to three screens, with cutting edge technology and a programme of more than 600 films a year. The past eight decades have been packed with cinema firsts and built a passionate, supportive and loyal following.

Allison Gardner, Glasgow Film Chief Executive,said: "We are delighted to have finalised this agreement with Unite on behalf of our staff. The GFT recognise the benefits that an engaged staff, with collective voice, will bring to Glasgow Film as we continue to navigate challenging and uncertain times together as a team."

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: "Following months of positive negotiations between our Unite reps and GFT management, we are delighted to agree collective bargaining at one of the country’s leading cultural institutions. This is a landmark agreement which is already producing positive impacts on the jobs, pay and conditions of our members. The GFT is not only one of the best cinemas in the country to visit but also work for following this exciting development in the sector."

Katie Mack, Unite Rep at GFT, said"We believe that it is crucial to have official recognition of our right to collectively bargain as a workforce, and we are pleased that Glasgow Film Theatre has chosen to respect our decision to organise with Unite the Union. This decision will help to ensure that we maintain a positive and respectful work environment moving forward."