hospitality

What happened to the housekeepers' campaign in Brighton?

If you regularly follow our activity probably you have realised that the housekeeper campaign is no longer active. This article aims to explain you what we tried to do, what we did and why the campaign is now on hold.

The housekeepers' campaign tried to expose the problems of workers in the tourist industry in Brighton through one of the hardest positions in the sector: those who clean every room in Brighton after a wild party, a family weekend or a romantic night. The idea of the campaign was to generate a discussion around working conditions in hostels, hotels and guest houses.

Shoddy Employment, Shoddy Boss

No contracts, unsure of the terms of employment, working to the whim of management, sound familiar? We are currently in a dispute with  Upper Crust Hove (no not the yellow chain everywhere) the one in West Hove’s golf club.

The worker came to Solfed for help after not being paid her full notice period pay, following having her hours changed upon them, which in effect forced them to leave employment.

This was not a mutual agreement; this was punishment for taking an agreed holiday which management forgot about.

Due to the fact nothing was laid out before hand, the ambiguity of terms and conditions leaves the power to management to do as they  please. That is until workers start fighting for themselves.

Action against Jimmy's spreads to South London

The Solidarity Federation today escalated it's campaign against wage thieves Jimmy's Restaurants, with a picket by the South London local of their Wimbledon restaurant.

Jimmy's owe their former workers in Brighton £1,500 in holiday pay and have failed to provide the workers with  P45s or pay income tax to the HMRC (despite tax being taken from their pay!) The manager of the Brighton branch has refused to engage with SolFed when confronted with this, insisting it is the responsibility of head office who never answer our calls and emails.

Jimmy's Still Does Not Pay, Action Spreads

After three weeks of action, Jimmy's Restaurant (on the Brighton Marina) is still avoiding their responsibilities. Three former workers are still campaigning to get their holiday pay and their P45 documents and we keep receiving contacts of workers facing the same situation.

From the beginning, the management of the restaurant has been denying any responsibility and addressing us to the “Head Office” who, curiously enough, never answer the phone or emails.

Moreover, last week we found out that the workers, having received their payslips with their tax deductions, are not in the records of the HMRC as having worked for Jimmy's. No explanation has been given by Jimmy's but we do hope that this is a misunderstanding.

Jimmy's dispute spreads to Bath

Three Bristol Solidarity Federation members travelled to Bath today (26th March 2016) on an Easter Bank Holiday weekend to picket the ‘Jimmy's' restaurant there after a request from the Brighton Hospitality Workers for collective national direct action against their bosses after they refused to pay them about £1,500 in owed wages and have yet to supply them with a P45.

Imperial Hotel: First picket

Last Saturday 16th November we started the public campaign against Imperial Hotel. The worker, Francesco, contacted Brighton Solfed regarding a serious case of wage theft:  this hotel owes him part of his wages, including his notice pay, holiday entitlement, money stolen from this pay, and sick pay. As the company has ignored every attempt from Brighton Solfed to contact them we had no other choice but to start direct action.

A restaurant in The Lanes paid up!

In the hospitality sector in Brighton it is very common to find employers who do not pay the minimum wage or pay the holidays owed to their workers. This problem is more common for migrants who do not necessarily have a great command of language or a thorough knowledge of labor laws.

This was the case for an employee of a restaurant in The Lanes. His situation in the workplace was made more complicated by the fact the rest of the kitchen staff, like him, were migrants, so communication was very difficult. He was paid minimum wage, 6.5 pounds per hour, and last minute changes to the rota were quite common, sometimes reaching up to 50 hours per week.

Un restaurante en The Lanes (Brighton) paga lo adeudado a un trabajador

En el sector de la hostelería en Brighton es muy habitual encontrarse con empresarios que no pagan el salario mínimo o que intentan no pagar las vacaciones a sus trabajadores. Esta problemática es más común en los trabajadores migrantes que no tienen un gran dominio del idioma ni un conocimiento profundo de la legislación laboral.

Este el caso de un trabajador de un restaurante en The Lanes. El entorno en que se desarrollaba su trabajo era bastante complejo, el resto del personal de la cocina, como él, eran inmigrantes, por lo que la comunicación se hacía muy complicada. Su trabajo se abonaba con el mínimo posible, 6,5 libras por hora, y los cambios de horarios a última hora eran bastante habituales, alcanzando en algunos casos jornadas semanales de más de 50 horas.

The Caffe Bar Italia dispute is resolved

The Caffe Bar Italia conflict is finally resolved after over 4 months of actions as the former worker has accepted an offer from the boss. This follows weekly pickets and a social media campaign during which we received increasing support & interest from locals & contacts, many of whom boycotted the cafe. The boss' behaviour became increasingly irrational & desperate and he recently admitted to the damage we were causing to his business, despite calling cops every time we picketed and trying to incite us. Brighton SolFed Hospitality Workers proved to bosses that we're in it for the long run & are capable of maintaining an extended high profile dispute. We would like to thank all supporters for their dedication and fighting spirit, and extend solidarity to the worker, who was strong throughout!