After several months of organising, Brighton Hospitality Workers are beginning to deliver the goods. Three members recently approached us with issues concerning unpaid wages and holiday entitlement from former employers, all with employment agencies and on zero-hours contracts. Demand letters were sent and within 48 hours one worker had wages paid in full, amounting to £264. However, the bosses were dragging their heels over paying holiday entitlement for untaken leave and another demand letter was sent, again resulting in payment of £95. Another worker’s demand letter resulted in payment of £358 in owed wages, although this should have been £385 and we’re not giving up on this. The third worker, who was with the same scumbag agency, is still owed £176 in unpaid holiday entitlement after the demand letter was ignored. An escalation strategy is in place to combine the 2 issues, including delivery by hand of a final demand before the leafleting, image-busting & picketing begins!
This is of course the tip of the iceberg and we’re becoming all too aware of this sort of exploitative practice as a daily reality in the Brighton hospitality industry. In response we’re continuing to raise our profile with weekly stalls on Saturday afternoons and weekly flyposting in hotspots across the city. The stalls, which we combine with Stuff Your Boss / Landlord, are now well-attended and raising plenty of interest with workers and supporters. We now have almost 50 contacts and, rather than call meetings, are encouraging members to join us on the stall and visit local businesses to talk with the workers (which has the added bonus of regularly confronting the bosses front-of-house).
The Brighton SolFed newsletter – Direct Action Solidarity – will be going to print soon and includes interviews with workers, rights advice and info about SolFed / anarcho-syndicalism, and will coincide with the launch of a blog on which workers can add their views & experiences.
Stuff the bosses, Solidarity is strength!

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This article was published on 7 March 2014 by the SolFed group in Brighton. Other recent articles:

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