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.

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.

Health & Social Care crisis: voting won't solve it !

Our NHS is in crisis: doctors' surgeries in Brighton are closing down, A&E waiting times are getting longer, hospitals are shutting up shop - and the sick and old are being left to die on hospital trollies.

The care system is in an even worse state: poor wages and criminal working condition mean there just aren't enough carers.

Here in Brighton most council contracts are privatised, and carers are often employed illegally: paid below the minimum wage, denied paid holidays, being forced to work long and unpredictable hours on zero-hours contracts and left to work without adequate training or supervision.

Of course the price of this isn't just being paid by the health and social care workers at the sharp end, it means health and care services are getting worse for all of us.

Precarious Mayday marks the start of dispute with Ephesus restaurant

This year's mayday was celebrated in Brighton with the coming together of different local unions and groups organising against casualised working conditions and the housing crisis. The demo soon headed for a local restaurant that has been underpaying one of our members, and demanding they be paid. The protest marks the start of a dispute, continuing our efforts over the past few years of trying to bring International Workers Day back to its roots in worker militancy and anarchist labour organising. 

Brighton: Precarious Mayday

We've been holding Mayday events for the past few years, trying to bring International Workers Day back to its roots in worker militancy and anarchist organising. This year, we're joining in the call from a coalition of local grassroots initiatives organising against casualised working conditions and the housing crisis. Meet 7pm Jubilee Square - A critical mass bike block will lead the (walking) demonstration - if you want to take part in that block, just bring a bike. The only way we’ll make our lives better is by fighting together!

Zapatistas 23 years after

Talk about the Zapatista struggle in Chiapas, by a former Solfed member who recently visited Mexico.
Wednesday 29. March, 7pm at the Cowley Club (12 London Road).

Introduction to the Zapatista Revolution, organization and recent events.

ConCiencias por la Humanidad:
How can science help the indigenous communities and the fight against the capitalist hydra.

Human Rights and indigenous communities in Chiapas:
Solidarity through the Human Rights Observer Brigades

School Dinner Discipline: a little bit of solidarity can go a long way

A dinner lady came to Brighton SolFed when there was nowhere left to go. They were facing a disciplinary hearing after being unfairly blamed for an incident, and they additionally were refused mainstream union representation. Brighton Hospitality Workers helped the worker prepare for the disciplinary and accompanied them to this stressful encounter. Solidarity means supporting your fellow workers, solidarity is what makes us strong.

Sucking the NHS Dry: it’s not the Migrants, it’s the Capitalists

The media has recently been escalating the migrant bashing with the claims that health tourists are plunging the NHS into crisis by not paying their bills.

This distracting technique pulls our gaze away from the more obvious strains the NHS is facing. With flat lining NHS funding (although the government are putting “more” money in this is not inline with increasing inflation and demand), cuts in social care, along with crippling Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) with extortionate interest rates and massive management consultancy fees, there is no wonder health services are finding that there is not enough money.

Tenant vs lettings agency: "We need to come together to improve conditions for everybody"

A lot of housing in the private rented sector is in an appalling state, and it's pretty hard for isolated tenants to get their landlord to make improvements. Here we publish the story of a tenant from a nearby town who contacted us during one of our Brighton housing disputes. It's a horror story in which the lettings agency forces the tenants to pay 6 months rent upfront, dismissing their complaints about unsafe living conditions with mental health slurs before dragging them to court for eviction. The account was written in the hope that it will encourage more tenants to come together to support one another, so we will no longer be isolated in the face of landlords who usually can count to have lettings agencies, lawyers, courts and often even councils on their side.

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