On Tuesday March 17th, St. Patrick's Day, a group of around 10 people accompanied a former worker of the pub. The aim was to ask if the management had an answer to the demands that he, in conjunction with Brighton Solidarity Federation, had made the previous week.

The pub is located in the Western Road area and the worker was a kitchen porter for about a year before he was sacked without any notice. As usual, he was on minimum wage and a zero-hours contract, the worst conditions the law allows.

However, the company decided this wasn't enough and didn't pay him for holiday leave not taken and the one week notice period.

After some attempts by the worker to talk to his former managers, he decided to make a demand with the support of Brighton SolFed Hospitality Workers. A demand letter was handed and sent to the company, giving them a period of one week to answer.

By Tuesday 17th - a bit more than one week later - no answer had been received apart from an email saying 'we are looking into your request'. Since, as workers, we have heard this answer enough times to know its meaning, we decided to start a public campaign immediately.

Leaflets explaining the case were given to customers inside while we started a picket outside the pub. After 10 minutes in which private security was called, and having received support from some of the customers, the general manager appeared in his car.

He said we were wrong to do what we were doing because we had already had an answer from the company, that the matter of the holiday pay 'was a mistake which they were resolving' and that 'according to investigations the worker was not entitled to get the notice pay but they will pay as proof of good faith'. Picketers answered that we would accept their resolutions and good faith as soon as the worker was paid.

On the following day we received an email from the company promising that they'll pay by the end of the month, so we suspended actions. It seems that the company understood the message as the worker received his money by the agreed date.

Brighton SolFed considers this dispute as new proof that we can stand up to abuses in our workplaces if we refuse to shut up and if we stand together. We do not need professionals, union leaders or politicians, just solidarity among workers.

We are getting stronger with each struggle and are building a new society. Viva SolFed! Long live anarcho-syndicalism!


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This article was published on 13 April 2015 by the SolFed group in Brighton. Other recent articles:

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