Brighton Solidarity Federation opens a dispute with Youngs Estate Agency

Brighton Solidarity Federation has started a dispute with the letting agency Youngs on Upper St James's Street. Two tenants have been organising in regards to structural damp, presence of severe black mould and overall dilapidation issues that created unsafe living conditions - dangerous to the tenants' health - throughout their tenancies at two separate properties managed by Youngs. Both tenants are demanding compensation for such issues and one of them, who is still living in the property, is urgently requesting that a number of neglected and still unresolved problems are attended to by the agency.

Brighton SolFed in dispute with Cafe Plenty over outstanding pay

Brighton SolFed is making public a dispute with a cafe who are unwilling to settle outstanding pay of over £4K. The former worker, who stopped work at the establishment in early June has been asking to be paid ever since. As attempts to resolve the issue amicably were ignored or frustrated by Cafe Plenty, Brighton Solfed is now going public to warn potential staff and customers.

After getting nowhere, she approached Brighton Solidarity Federation for support. The business are not disputing they owe the money - in fact they finally paid part of the money owed two weeks ago. However £4,482 is still outstanding. After multiple attempts to resolve the dispute, including a face-to-face meeting, we are now stepping up our public campaign in support of the aggrieved worker.

Brighton Solfed Housing Union supports tenant kicked out from sublet

For the past few weeks Brighton SolFed and friends have been supporting a tenant that got evicted with a week's notice!
The tenant, a Spanish immigrant that doesn't speak English at all, had been living in a sub-letted shared room with an other sub-lettee in deplorable conditions of mold. Solidarity Federation helped mediating with the live-in sub-letter, but they refused any facilitation of eviction and responded by violently scaring the tenant to leave the property. After a huge show of support in front of the landlord's flat - where almost 20 members and friends turned up to help -  temporary accommodation was found for the tenant.

G4Lets Refuse to Pay Up: Brighton SolFed's Campaign Intensifies

Brighton lettings agency G4Lets is facing a growing campaign by two groups of tenants organising with Brighton SolFed for the return of their deposits and for compensation after they lived in damp, mice-infested accommodation for a year, and were subsequently charged for pre-existing damage at the properties when they requested the return of their deposits. Both sets of tenants were students at the time of their tenancies.

Brighton Solidarity Federation Opens a Dispute with G4Lets

Brighton Solidarity Federation has started a dispute with the lettings agency G4Lets on Hythe Road in Fiveways. Two sets of tenants have been organising with SolFed regarding a number of issues with their tenancies. The first group of tenants had to live in mice-infested, unsafe accommodation for a year, and then had £2000 illegitimately deducted from their deposit. The second group of tenants have had £1080 deducted from their deposit for similarly dubious reasons.

Brighton SolFed Housing Union round-up: three months, three victories

Three groups of tenants organising with Brighton Solidarity Federation Housing Union over the past three months have each secured victories in their disputes. Working with our Housing Union, these tenants used the everyday tactics of solidarity and mutual support to take direct action – to win back stolen cash and to improve their conditions.

The first dispute was a group of tenants whose landlord and lettings agencies had left them living in damp, infested accommodation for a year. The landlord switched agencies half way through the tenancy, though both failed to address the problems in the house. After a direct action campaign, the landlord and the two agencies paid out £3900 in relation to the damp issue. Together with the tenancy deposit the campaign had demanded to be returned in full, the six tenants received just over £6000 as a result of the campaign.

Brighton Solidarity Federation opens a dispute with The Property Shop lettings agency

Brighton Solidarity Federation has started a dispute with The Property Shop on St James's Street. A tenant has been organising with SolFed after they were charged for repairs that the landlord was obligated to carry out.

Along with the tenant, Brighton SolFed wrote to The Property Shop on 18th October, explaining the issues and outlining options for redress. The Property Shop requested an extension on the one week deadline for a response, which Brighton SolFed granted, but The Property Shop still did not respond within that timeframe.

Brighton Solfed statement on disaffiliation of a member

CN: Sexual assault

Brighton Solfed have taken a collective decision to permanently exclude a member due to allegations of sexual assault made against them. The member was formally suspended at the end of April, after we were informed that they had been excluded from two other groups, and since then attempts were made to try and start a process whereby this member could be held accountable for their actions. However, due to the survivors’ wishes for space and privacy, this was not possible in any transformative sense without going against the survivors’ autonomy.

In light of this, the Brighton local of Solidarity Federation has taken the decision to permanently exclude the member from the group. Our reasons for this are:

Spencer & Leigh Make Legal Threats Against a Tenant with Young Children: Brighton SolFed Opens a Dispute

Brighton Solidarity Federation has started a dispute with the lettings agency Spencer & Leigh in Patcham. A tenant has been organising with SolFed after £510 was withheld from her deposit in order to change a lock and to have the property professionally cleaned. The tenant left the property secure at the end of her tenancy, and she also had it professionally cleaned prior to vacating it.

Landlady Makes Threats Instead of Owning Up: SolFed's Campaign Intensifies

Brighton lettings agency MTM is facing a growing campaign by a group of tenants organising with Brighton SolFed for compensation after they paid £34,320 in rent to live in damp (pictured) and infested accommodation for a year. Recently, the landlady made a series of threats against the tenants. These include informing their places of study about the dispute, and attempting to get them blacklisted by agencies in the city and “all landlord associations in the country”. Regarding the former threat, we have informed the landlady that the tenants' places of study are already aware of the issues these tenants faced and have been sympathetic toward the situation.

Solidarity with striking Uber drivers!

Solfed locals have taken solidarity action to express our support of Uber drivers in Jakarta taking strike action today 11.9.2017. Similar actions have been taken by anarcho-syndicalists on 4 continents as a result of a call by the IWA-AIT. Solfed members in London held a picket outside Uber's UK headquarters in Aldgate. Brighton Solfed had previously expressed their solidarity while members in Liverpool and Manchester have been spreading the word about the struggle of Uber workers in Indonesia in a flyposting campaign.  Uber drivers, organising with the anarcho-syndicalist PPAS, are taking strike action, demanding higher pay and an end to highly casualised working conditions. These are the same problems faced by Uber drivers across the world - our solidarity is as international as their capital!

Brighton Solidarity Federation opens a dispute with MTM lettings agency

Brighton Solidarity Federation has started a dispute with MTM lettings on the Lewes road. A group of tenants have been organising with SolFed after they were rented a house with serious damp and mould problems, infestations, and poor furniture that the landlady had promised to replace.

The tenants were introduced to the landlady by a different letting agency in the city, which was intermittently involved in the tenancy for the first six months. Administration was then transferred to MTM. The first letting agency refunded the tenants their agency fees, totalling £1200, on Thursday 24th August, after a brief picket protesting against the agency for introducing the tenants to this poor-quality accommodation.  

‘When I do absolutely nothing it’s absolutely within your gift to slate me from here until next week’: SolFed & the Bobby Carver Campaign’s Meeting with Brighton Council

On 31st July, members of Brighton Solidarity Federation, along with Bobby Carver and members of his campaign, met with Brighton & Hove City Council’s Executive Director for Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing, Larissa Reed. You can read more about how this meeting came about here.

Prior to the meeting, ourselves and the Bobby Carver Campaign had issued three clear public demands to the council, which were based on Bobby’s – and others' – experience of the council’s housing department. The demands were as follows:

1. An end to at-a-distance housing suitability assessments
2. That third-party groups are allowed to attend these assessments
3. That any assessments that had exceeded the 8-week deadline were carried out within two weeks of the meeting

Does Brighton Council only care about PR?

UPDATE: since the publication of this article on the afternoon of Monday 10th July 2017, Larissa Reed, Executive Director for Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing at Brighton council has been in touch to arrange a meeting with Brighton SolFed and the Bobby Carver campaign within the next two weeks. We look forward to hearing how the issues raised below are going to be addressed, and about the changes the council is going to put in place to ensure 'the safest homes possible' for everyone...

 

Smiles, Solidarity and Ephesus

Our dispute with Ephesus has come to an end with a victory; the worker has been paid all that was owed.

Solidarity from many people has been the key to attaining this result.

From the outset the worker, who is also involved in the Spanish Marea Granate movement, wanted to find a way to collectivise the dispute and try to improve the conditions for their fellow workmates even though they were leaving. As the notice period finished, the worker asked for all their holiday pay and if they were going to receive the money owed for minimum wage. All they were offered was a measly £150. Management hoped this would keep the worker quiet.

We delivered the demand letter as a group, including the worker. We were received with smiles and “yes yes yes.”  We left and awaited their response; we gave them a week before the deadline was up.

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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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