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Fox & Sons dispute concludes with second landlord quitting the agency

We have concluded our dispute with Fox & Sons after a second landlord quit the agency following a short direct action campaign against their business. This follows another landlord who quit the agency in February after a similar campaign. Our campaign against Fox & Sons has been ongoing for four and a half months, and the loss of these landlords – from whom Fox & Sons would have taken 16% of the rent for a full management service, on top of all the fees they charge – coupled to the damage to their business caused by the campaign, is likely to have cost them thousands of pounds.

Brighton Solfed Starts Campaign Against The Sidewinder Pub

Brighton Solidarity Federation has opened a public campaign against The Sidewinder on Upper St James in Kemp Town. We were approached by a worker who was immediately dismissed just for calling in sick for one shift. The worker was also owed unpaid holiday entitlement.


We wrote to The Sidewinder asking that they pay compensation for unfair dismissal and fork out the owed holiday pay.  They have now paid the holiday pay, but have refused demands for compensation, accusing us of blackmail. Clearly, The Sidewinder thinks that not providing employees with contracts, holiday pay, failing to follow grievence procedures and dismissing workers for being ill is acceptable.

Carework: Sleeping on the clock is no dream

In 2018 Mencap, the learning disability charity with an unappealing name, took the government to court. Mencap wanted to challenge an earlier ruling on whether or not sleep shifts count as work, for the purposes of calculating the national minimum wage. They won their case and now, thanks to them, sleep shifts are no longer legally recognised as work. So if you sleep as part of your job, your boss doesn’t have to pay you for it.

Demand letter delivery wins dispute with student lettings agency

In late October 2018, we organised with a student tenant who was being messed around with a disrepair issue by a well-known student lettings agency. We’d beaten this agency before via a direct-action campaign – this time all it took was the delivery of a demand letter to get this tenant compensation. Below, the tenants tells the story of the dispute.

One of our toilets was out of action for the best part of six months. If used, faeces would back up and overflow out of the toilet. This plumbing damage was caused by a fire that wasn’t disclosed to us. Although we had use of another toilet, the toilet that was overflowing was directly next door to the kitchen that meant alongside being inconvenienced, it was quite a disgusting and hazardous living situation prior to calling the plumbers to fix it.

Care Workers and the Sleep-in Crisis at Tipping Point

Care workers employed by care provider Alternative Futures Group (AFG) have recently voted on industrial action in a Unison organised ballot over the long-running, sleep-in dispute. Ballots have now been counted, and 87.4% voted to strike on a 51.5% turnout.

Unison has also recently sent out consultative ballots to members of another large care provider, Lifeways Group. The long running exploitation and financial abuse of workers in the care sector by their employers is finally starting to get attention, and care workers are saying “enough is enough”.

The sleep-in dispute has been going on for some years and revolves around sleep-in shifts, where a care worker will stay overnight at work in a person’s home or in a care home, in case they are needed in the night. Typically, they will sleep in an office or spare room, and be available to work whenever called on.

Landlord drops Fox & Sons after single picket, whilst our campaign escalates to Jade Software in Australia

It’s been a good week in our dispute with Fox & Sons. On Wednesday we picketed the business of a landlord who rents a property out through Fox & Sons; by Thursday she had dropped them as her letting agent. We’d written to this landlord one week previously, explaining Fox & Sons’ systematic mistreatment of their tenants, and demanded that she either drop them as her agency or speak to them and tell them to pay compensation to the tenants involved in our ongoing dispute with them. This landlord chose to do neither, so we staged a picket outside her business on Wednesday 6th February, informing passers by about her association with Fox & Sons.

Solidarity Federation: Women Oriented Workplace Training

Last Saturday, the Solidarity Federation organised its first women oriented workplace organiser training course. The training is based on the SolFed’s general workplace organiser training course, but adapted to concentrate on the issues and problems faced by women in the workplace.

The training focuses on direct action, rather than offering a legalistic approach to workplace organising, the aim being to set out how women can come together and organise their own action to improve their lives. Particular attention is paid in the course to the impact the women's role within the home has on their working lives, an area largely ignored by the traditional unions.

The holiday season might be over, but your entitlement lasts all year!

We recently had another success against more shoddy employment practice. A well renowned central Brighton pub had not paid one of its workers any holiday entitlement and not provided payslips that matched the working hours completed. Unfortunately for them, their worker is a friend of Brighton SolFed and knew they were being stitched up.


Management were initially dismissive. They did think they might owe the worker an extra days pay, but we reminded them it was quite considerably higher. After a detailed demand letter was sent, the establishment paid their dues within the deadline. However, we still await the missing paperwork, so watch this space.

 

Tenant provides more evidence of malpractice by Fox & Sons

As our public campaign against Fox & Sons continues, and as they continue to refuse to compensate the six tenants they left homeless due to persistent failures of communication and procedure, we have been contacted by another tenant describing their experience of attempting to rent through the agency.

Council's scandalous incompetence leaves vulnerable tenant facing homelessness!

Patrick, a tenant we have been organising with for the past year, is facing homelessness after disgraceful treatment by Brighton Council, who have systematically failed to carry out their most basic duties, leaving Patrick with no protection against eviction by his landlord. For details of the history of this case see here: http://www.brightonsolfed.org.uk/brighton/the-arrogance-continues-and-so...

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