WORKERS at a Glasgow cinema claim to have been sexually assaulted, attacked and spat at on their way home since a drastic reduction in late-night shift allowances.

The terrifying ordeals of some staff Cineworld’s Renfrew Street branch were shared in an open letter released this week to bosses at the entertainment chain.

A decision taken in April drastically reduced late-night travel allowances for staff by as much as 75 per cent.

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As a result, staff, many of whom are on zero-hours contracts, have said they are regularly faced with a choice between paying their bills or paying to get home safely.

Workers have now threatened “direct action” against cinema bosses unless the cut in subsidies, from £8 per person per night to just £2, is reversed by year’s end.

More than half of the 160-strong workforce have signed an open letter to Cineworld CEO Moshe J. Greidinger, criticising the decision and detailing sexual assaults, violence and intimidation experienced by staff members whilst walking home in the early hours.

According to the letter, staff working into the night have been kissed and touched without their consent on the street, as well as having their tights ripped by an attacker.

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Another staff member claims that she was covered in food by three men who cornered her on her way home, leaving her with a black eye.

Staff affected by the changes, who are as young as 18, say they hold Cineworld bosses “partly culpable for the things that have happened... on the way home from work”.

After forming a branch of the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (BECTU) at the site, staff are now being supported in their plight by campaigners from Better than Zero’s Safe Home initiative.

The campaign was launched earlier this year and is pushing for all late-shift staff to be provided with full taxi allowances paid by businesses, as well as ending street harassment from customers and the public.

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Claire Peden, campaign co-ordinator, said: “Young people on minimum wage and zero hours contracts should not be left making a choice between paying their bills or paying for a taxi home to ensure their own safety.

“All these workers are demanding is that Cineworld, the world’s second largest cinema business, takes the responsibility for helping get their late night workers home safe. This is surely not too much to ask.”

In a statement, Cineworld said: “The safety and well-being of our staff is of the highest priority to us and that’s why we choose to subsidise late night transportation for our staff. 

“To be clear, this is not a legal requirement nor a common standard in our industry, but rather a policy Cineworld values and therefore chose to implement.

“We regularly review our policies which includes comparing our travel policies to that of similar businesses within the cinema, retail and leisure industries, and while it is true we made changes to the structure of our subsidised travel allowance, please be assured we value the feedback of our staff members and will continue to contribute to late night allowances as we take the safety of our staff extremely seriously.”