Brighton Solidarity Federation started a dispute with Jimmy's Restaurant in February 2016. The case involved three migrant workers that were owed holiday pay. After the initial investigations, we found out that the company was not paying tax for them even when through the company was deducting taxes from their wages.
It appeared that around 40-60% of the staff were working with a fake contract and received fake payslips, with unlawful deductions. Most of the staff were not able to join a public campaign or fight to improve their situation. Despite this, a campaign regarding holiday entitlement and a tax adjustment was started by several of the workers organising with SolFed.
After more depth investigations, we found out that the company was part of a bigger scam. The company has had around ten different names since 2007. Most of them were closed following insolvency proceedings. This is what happened to the company that owed the Brighton Marina branch. It declared insolvent in December 2015 without inform its worker. In this way the company avoid workers to be part of the list of creditors. It is not a coincidence that the administrator in all the cases was the same, Gagen Dulari Sharma.
The manager of the restaurant at Brighton Marina, Laxman Lawand, always pretended that he was not part of the scam. But he has been working for Jimmy's s for a long time, at least since 2011. Before working in Brighton he was manager of Jimmy's in Derby. This restaurant also closed suddenly without any information. A real expert of wage theft and workers precariousness!
Of course Blue Mango, a neighbouring restaurant, was also part of the scam. Both restaurants shared the same management and other services. And Blue Mango in Brighton was also owned by Amandeep Uppal, who is one of the leaders, with Kuldip Singh of the big scam related with all the Jimmy's companies.
We have been distributing information about the practices at Jimmy's on our picket lines outside the doors of the restaurant for four months. Surely news must have got to Brighton Marina's management, as well as lots of the Jimmy's Restaurant costumers and workers. It was also reported to HMRC by the workers. Most of the people decided turn a blind eye on us.
Due to our limited resources and workers strengths we decided in May to suspend the the dispute. We did not have enough support from the majority of the costumers. It was a really hard case, against professional con artists! We made a lot of mistakes, but at least we made it harder for them.