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.

Brighton hospitality worker gets paid after a single picket

A Brighton hospitality worker supported by SolFed has won a victory against the exploitative conditions prevalent in the local hospitality sector, as a restaurant paid £1,200 in response to pay demands made by the worker.

The public campaign in support of the worker ended after a single picket - and some back-and-forth emailing - with the worker receiving all the money she had asked for.

The worker's demand of £1200 was in relation to outstanding pay. Unusually, the worker had been told she would be paid a set weekly amount, depending on whether she worked 5 or 6 days. Her contract stipulated that she was employed and paid for 32 hours a week. However, since work days usually lasted around 11 hours, in reality she worked close to double what she had been contracted for.

Brighton Solidarity Federation concludes its campaign against G4Lets

Brighton Solidarity Federation has concluded its campaign against the student lettings agency G4Lets. The campaign was in support of two groups of tenants who had just over £3000 deducted from their deposits. One group of tenants had £2000 taken from their deposit for fire safety, redecoration, and pest control, in spite of an Environmental Health Report from the council informing G4Lets that these issues were their responsibility to resolve as part of landlords' general obligations to the properties they let out.

Brighton SolFed pickets Sushi restaurant

Brighton SolFed started a public campaign against Sushimania Brighton with a picket. The campaign is in support of a former worker who they failed to  pay properly, resulting in outstanding payment of £1,200.35 in unpaid wages and holiday pay. 

After the worker approached Brighton SolFed for support , we tried to resolve the issue amicably. However Sushimania claim that the worker only worked 32 hours per week, when in reality it was twice as much. We have now started a public campaign to make these facts knows.

 

Brand Vaughan Make a Legal Threat Against a Student Tenant: Solidarity Federation’s Campaign Intensifies

Brighton lettings agency Brand Vaughan is facing a growing campaign by Solidarity Federation, after the agency deducted £390 from the deposit of a student tenant for cleaning and redecoration. The tenant left her room clean, and the deductions made by the agency contain a number of problems, including not evidencing an attempt to procure the most reasonable deal, as they should, and not all of the deductions being sufficiently costed. Moreover, the tenant reported serious concerns regarding the behaviour of her housemates to the agency during her tenancy, which was pertinent to the issues that the agency claim require deposit deductions, and which was the source of a great deal of distress for the tenant, who had to move out because of them.

G4Lets campaign covered in student paper

This week's Badger - the student newspaper at Sussex university - reported on our campaign against the G4 Lets. The agency - who specialise in renting to students made a group of students live in squalid conditions, the responsibility for which the local council’s Environmental Health Report placed firmly on the shoulders of the lettings agents. The tenants had to live in mice-infested, unsafe accommodation for a year, and then had £2000 illegitimately deducted from their deposit for these costs. Here we reproduce the full account written by one of the tenants, as well as our response to claims G4 Lets make in the article.

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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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