On March 11th, Benoit Robin, a projectionist at the supposedly leftist and alternative Babylon Cinema in Berlin, and a member of FAU (German IWA section), was sacked. The FAU section at Babylon, formed in January, has been organising for improved pay and conditions. Wages at Babylon are 5.50 to 6 euros an hour, with 6.40 for projectionists, compared with 8.50 euros an hour in other cinemas. Many of the workers are casual, with no contracts, and no paid holidays or other benefits. By similar workers elsewhere get thirty days paid leave. Babylon cannot be said to be in a poor financial health; as an art cinema, it gets a large government subsidy, almost 500,000 euros a year.
In February, as part of their campaign, the Babylon workers organised a protest during the Berlin film festival. Robin was prevented from speaking at the protest, and one month later, was fired because of his role in organising the campaign. The campaign has continued, using a Billy Bragg event, and a season of films on the Spanish Revolution to highlight the workers demands.
The Babylon workers have a blog: http://prekba.blogsport.de
and there is an online petition at: http://prekba.blogsport.de/solidaritaets-erklaerung.
Please send protest messages to: