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.

Brighton Solidarity Federation opens a dispute with Town and City Residential Lettings

Brighton Solidarity Federation has started a dispute with Town and City Residential Lettings, operating out of English Business Park, near Hove Cemetery. A tenant has been organising with SolFed after the agency failed to address severe mould and damp issues, which the tenant lost several belongings to, and then took the cost of necessary refurbishment and repair out of the tenant’s deposit. The tenant, a single mother dealing with anxiety, has suffered repeated harassment and bullying by the agency. This has come to a climax with the agency demanding at first £200 from the tenant’s deposit, arbitrarily raising this figure to £780, and then making a final, ludicrous demand for £1030.

Public Campaign Against Brand Vaughan Continues

A tenant has been organising with SolFed after deposit deductions were made from their joint-tenancy deposit, despite the fact they left the property in a clean condition. The deductions were unreasonable, not costed in enough detail, and, on top of this, service from the agency was poor throughout her tenancy. This even included not being provided keys when locks were changed during the tenancy.


Brand Vaughan’s response to the demands for £390 to be returned from the deposit, and for £541 compensation, has included making legal threats, as well as claiming that the problems with the tenancy were not their responsibility. The landlord of the property is in-fact Tom Ghibaldan, chief executive of Brand Vaughan. Deposit deductions claimed by Brand Vaughan were in the service of their own chief executive.

Youngs agency: another horror story emerges

As the public campaign continues to grow, Brighton Solfed are being contacted by other local people who have had similar experiences of the mismanagement of properties by Youngs. In one instance, there were distressing and disruptive consequences for the everyday lives of a couple and their son.
A family living in Kemptown had to suffer raw sewage flowing through their home after unidentified damage to a pipe from flats above - and Youngs failed to investigate the damage until after that their floorboards were sodden and underfloor troughs were filled with dirty water. 

Brighton Solidarity Federation opens a dispute with Brand Vaughan

Brighton Solidarity Federation has started a dispute with Brand Vaughan, a large estate agency with branches in Hove, Kemptown and Preston Park. A tenant has been organising with SolFed after deposit deductions were made from their joint-tenancy deposit, despite the fact they left the property in a clean condition. The deductions were unreasonable, not costed in enough detail, on top of this, service from the agency was poor throughout her tenancy.


Along with the tenant, Brighton SolFed wrote to Brand Vaughan December 1st, explaining the issues and outlining options for redress. Brand Vaughan claimed the dispute was something they could not address, after they had opened up a TDS case without the tenant’s express permission. The tenant was wholly unsatisfied that months after the end of her tenancy, she had not been returned any of her deposit.

Brighton SolFed march shows Youngs cannot ignore demands for safe living

A 40-strong march to Youngs Estate Agents in Kemptown on Saturday 13th January demonstrated that tenants will not put up with their demands for repairs being ignored. Tenants demanding "Safe Conditions: No Evictions" showed they would continue to fight while the agency and landlord refuse to acknowledge the need for repairs and payment for works carried out.

'I own a portfolio of some seventy houses': the millionaire landlords G4Lets are trying to protect with legal threats

Brighton SolFed is continuing its campaign against local letting agents G4 Lets into the new year, as the agency has not yet made an adequate offer to meet the demands of two groups of tenants. Both groups are asking for the return of their deposits and for compensation. In one instance, tenants were charged for pre-existing damage to the house they were living in, which was damp and infested with vermin throughout their tenancy; in the other, tenants have been charged for wear and tear and for redecoration costs, even though they had the interior of the property repainted professionally before they moved out.

Plenty of bluster: Brighton Solfed unimpressed with legal threats by Cafe Plenty

Cafe Plenty issued legal threats just hours after Brighton Solfed tried to talk to them about £4,400 they owe a former worker. Having made clear they were unwilling to resolve the matter, the cafe's bogus threats triggered a campaign of protest highlighting the plight of the former worker organising with Solfed.

A Solfed member involved in the case explained what happened: “In late November, a couple of us went to hand them a letter about the £4K they owe the former worker. Our approach is always to try to resolve things amicably, by talking to them first and give them a chance to rectify their mistake. Since the owner wasn't there, we just left the letter with a helpful member of staff.

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.

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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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