Brighton Solidarity Federation opens a dispute with Fox & Sons

Brighton Solidarity Federation has started a dispute with Fox & Sons, a large estate agency with branches across Brighton. Along with six student tenants, Brighton SolFed wrote to Fox & Sons on November 3rd, demanding that they pay compensation to the tenants, who were told five days after the day they were meant to move in to a property that it had been withdrawn, leaving them with nowhere to live. Fox and Sons’ employees offered no help finding an alternative property, other than suggesting one over the students’ budget. They didn't communicate properly with the tenants, telling them that the property would be ready to move into by early September, which it wasn’t.

STILL, A FEW PLACES LEFT ON SF WORKPLACE ORGANISER TRAINING COURSE!!!

The Solidarity Federation will be holding a workplace organiser training day in Manchester on November 24th. The training is based on a direct action approach to organising rather than looking to use employment laws to resolve workplace issues. No experience of workplace organising is necessary and the training takes place in a fun and friendly atmosphere. So if you are interested in organising your workplace, or just want to learn about the organising process, this course is a great way to make a start.

 

THERE ARE STILL A FEW PLACES LEFT SO IF YOU WANT TO ATTEND THE COURSE EMAIL: training@solfed.org.uk


 

STILL, A FEW PLACES LEFT ON SF WORKPLACE ORGANISER TRAINING COURSE!!!

The Solidarity Federation will be holding a workplace organiser training day in Manchester on November 24th. The training is based on a direct action approach to organising rather than looking to use employment laws to resolve workplace issues. No experience of workplace organising is necessary and the training takes place in a fun and friendly atmosphere. So if you are interested in organising your workplace, or just want to learn about the organising process, this course is a great way to make a start.

 

THERE ARE STILL A FEW PLACES LEFT SO IF YOU WANT TO ATTEND THE COURSE EMAIL: training@solfed.org.uk


 

Brighton SolFed Housing Union: A Year of Mutual Aid and Direct Action Solidarity

Just over a year ago, Brighton Solidarity Federation started a Housing Union. Our experience living in Brighton was of rents rocketing up (18% average in 2015 compared to 4.9% nationwide), while conditions were getting worse. We wanted to find ways to stand up for ourselves and fight back. In this article, we look at the successes we've had, the lessons we've learned, and the knowledge we've acquired over this first year.

Proud Cabaret Pays Worker after SolFed Get Involved!

Brighton Proud Cabaret have paid a worker over £1,500 in underpaid back wages after being delivered a demand letter by Brighton SolFed.

The worker had been told that they would be paid at a rate of £8.50 per hour, but was only paid £7.58 per hour until the new minimum wage was introduced in April 2018, when the hourly rate was increased to £7.83. The contract issued to the worker by Proud Cabaret did not contain any information on rates of pay, which of course is a legal requirement.

The worker repeatedly raised this issue to management with no success. Tired of being fobbed off they contacted SolFed and after we delivered a demand letter the bosses decided to pay up!

Youngs dispute: landlord initiates new eviction via the law firm Dean Wilson

The landlord in our ongoing dispute in support of a tenant, Patrick, whose house was allowed to fall into a serious state of disrepair over a number of years, has served a fresh section 21 eviction notice, after the first one failed in court in early June. In the intervening period, Patrick and Brighton Solidarity Federation attempted again to open a dialogue with the landlord, providing considerable evidence in support of Patrick’s claim for compensation for poor living conditions and work he has undertaken, as well as the possibility of a grant to help fund the much-needed repair works. However, the landlord has been unwilling to enter into negotiations toward a solution, and has instead initiated a second eviction process.

Brighton Solidarity Federation wins a campaign against Brighton Hotel!

Brighton Solidarity Federation Hospitality Workers have successfully concluded a campaign against a hotel in Brighton. Brighton SolFed had been working with a former employee for payment of unpaid holiday pay, as well as compensation for dangerous working conditions which have had a serious impact on this worker’s health.

The worker was only contracted to work 20 hours a week, but was regularly pressured to work up to 40 hours, doing work that went far beyond their job description. In addition to his usual duties of taking care of linen and rubbish, he was given sole responsibility in evenings for the duties of a room attendant and dealing with all the requests made by guests, acting as luggage porter, cleaner of bar and brasserie toilets, and responsible for dealing with dirty clothes in the kitchen.

‘Direct action is the only thing that can change the crappy way things have been for too long’ – a tenant organises to beat deposit theft

In September-October 2017, Brighton SolFed Housing Union successfully organised with a tenant who was facing a £510 deduction to her deposit. The amount was repaid in full after a roughly three week campaign. Below, the tenant explains the situation she was in, as well as her experience of the campaign and the affect it had on her.

[CN: suicide]

Brighton Solfed wins dispute with Dry Cleaning business

The dry cleaners, based in the Kemptown area, had been withholding holiday pay of over £1000 from a migrant worker. Despite the worker asking repeatedly for their owed money, the bosses ignored and demeaned them.

The worker came to Brighton Solfed, and we started the process of demanding the owed holiday wages. The management tried their best to scam us too, claiming that you can’t accrue holiday pay during a probation period, and claiming compensation for damaged clothing. We explained to the boss that not only are they completely wrong about these things, they were also flagrantly flouting employment law by withholding holiday and demanding compensation.

Owner of Youngs, David Pay, assaults Brighton SolFed member

On Saturday 19th May we undertook a picket of Youngs estate agency in Kemptown, as part of our ongoing campaign in support of a tenant, Patrick, who is being evicted by one of their landlords because he asked for necessary repairs to his flat to be undertaken, and because he demanded payment, as agreed, for repair work he had already done. Before the picket began, we entered the shop to inform the owner, David Pay, that the picket would be taking place, and to give him the opportunity to open negotiations toward a settlement of the dispute. Had he done so, we would have postponed the picket, as we explained to him. Instead of entering into dialogue, however, Mr Pay proceeded to physically assault one of our members, as can be seen in the video below. Mr Pay went on to attempt a second assault not long after this one.

Youngs tenant gives an update on his battle against eviction and our campaign for compensation

The tenant from our dispute with Youngs estate agency, Patrick, provides an update on the campaign. Patrick began organising with Brighton SolFed in December 2017 for better living conditions and for compensation and reimbursement for work he has undertaken on his flat. Following this, he was served with an eviction notice in late January 2017, in what appears to be a clear example of a revenge eviction by a landlord unwilling to undertake necessary works to bring his property up to a liveable standard.

The Property Shop Pay Up! A tenant successfully fights back against deposit theft

In October 2017, Brighton Solidarity Federation was organising with a tenant who was facing a £344 deduction from their deposit after moving out of a house administered by the lettings agency The Property Shop in Kemptown. The tenant approached Brighton SolFed for support to organise a public campaign against this, which concluded successfully with full replayment to the tenant after around one month of actions. Below, the tenant tells the story of their experience of this situation, as well as of the public campaign.

 

'We taught them a lesson' - a tenant who successfully fought a deposit deduction tells her story

Below is the write-up of a successful campaign organised by a tenant and Brighton SolFed against a deduction to that tenant's deposit. The three month public campaign concluded in April 2018 with a £450 payment to the tenant, who had had £390 deducted from her deposit. Please note that the article contains brief discussion of post traumatic stress disorder.

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We are an anarcho-syndicalist union based in Brighton. We have ongoing campaigns in Hospitality and in Health & social care, but we aim to organise with workers of all industries and none. We also have a very active housing union.

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