Cinema workers fear being left on minimum wage

Protesters at Event in Auckland.
Protesters at Event in Auckland. Photo credit: Joe Carolan/Facebook

Movie theatre staff across the country say they are striking all weekend against Event Cinemas.

Unite Union members are demanding better pay packets after failing to agree to the company's proposal. Industrial action began on Wednesday night, coinciding with the release of the new Star Wars movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Unite says staff earning above the minimum wage fear being left on the minimum wage if they're not given bigger increases.

"Workers who are long-serving with the company and who are in supervisor and management positions risk their wage differentials being lost, and face the possibility of becoming minimum wage workers," said national director Mike Treen.

Event is offering a 4 percent increase, which it says is its highest proposal yet.

"We have made a proposal for an overall wage increase of 4 percent, which we believe is fair," the company told Newshub.

"This is the highest wage increase that we have ever offered and we understand that the average annual wage increase across all industries last year was 1.9 percent."

Event says movies will continue to screen as scheduled.

"We have staff to continue to trade, business as usual."

It says only 15 staff walked off the job on Wednesday night, but the union says it was 50.

The action will end on Sunday night.