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News

The latest news and analysis from SF locals

Eastbourne tenant wins back £100 by challenging deposit deductions

A tenant in Eastbourne has won back £100 by challenging deductions to his deposit. The tenant’s landlord was attempting to make various deductions for replacement items that had been subject to fair wear and tear.

The tenant contacted Brighton SolFed for advice on what he could do in this situation, given that he had already moved out and was unable to gather his own evidence. After some brief discussion about the different ways that deposit theft can be challenged – such as by checking whether your landlord has correctly protected the deposit, and challenging your landlord to produce invoices for items that they allege needed replacing – the tenant opened correspondence with the landlord about the deductions. The landlord immediately agreed to return £100, which the tenant was happy to accept.

No Work Without Pay: Boycott CJ Barbers!

Brighton SolFed has started a public campaign against CJ Barbers, who owe one of our members over two months in unpaid wages. The worker was employed as an "apprentice" for no wages, with the promise of paid work after two months. Unfortunately, this kind of practice is common in the barbering industry in Brighton, so the worker decided to go along with it. After the two months were up, CJ Barbers paid him...£50 a week, for full time work! The worker left two weeks later.

During this so-called “apprenticeship” the worker was given no contract, no opportunity to work towards any qualification, and worked full time hours. This therefore does not meet the legal requirement of an  apprenticeship, which is why we are demanding that CJ Barbers pays our member the full legal minimum wage, holiday pay, and pension contributions for the hours he worked, which total £2821.63.

Far-right "Active for Plymouth" EXPOSED

“Active for Plymouth” is a new far-right group in Plymouth. They act like they’re just a common-sense party run by ordinary people. They are anything but! Their leader is a conspiracy theorist, expelled from his last party for racism. Their secretary has put out hateful campaign material ranting against gypsies. And what's more, there are concerning links to Plymouth's extreme right. We’re putting out the truth of what they’re really about, so that no-one gets taken in by their election campaign this month.

Jason "tinfoil hat" Shopland

Jason Shopland has been trying to get elected for the past few years. Standing for UKIP in 2015, he went on to start "Plymouth Independents" the next year. The party only lasted a few months but still found time to kick out Shopland for racism

Worker Fights Back Against Wage Theft

A worker organising with Brighton Solidarity Federation has won a dispute with their seafront employer, the Harbour Hotel. The worker was employed over the Christmas period in the kitchen of the hotel. In the space of one month, the worker was not paid for 3 days worked, did not receive a contracted gratuities (tips and a bonus) payment and did not receive any holidays. These totaled up to over £1000 - quite an amount for just over a month's work.

Wage theft in the hospitality sector in Brighton is rife, and missing holiday entitlement is particularly common. Holiday entitlement starts accruing from the moment you start work and there are useful calculators online that can work out if you are owed any: https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-holiday-entitlement.

Tenant Successfully Fights £200 Deposit Theft

Brighton Solidarity Federation recently assisted a tenant whose letting agent, Ashton Burkinshaw, were attempting to make unreasonable deductions from their deposit. We were contacted by the tenant after their letting agent tried to deduct nearly £200 for unnecessary (maybe never done) work. We advised the tenant what their rights were and helped them use one of our template letters to send to their agent. The agent could not provide an invoice for the work and had to back down.

Every person who has rented a home has experienced their letting agent trying to steal part or all of their deposit. There are many ways to fight back and sometimes the most effective one is also the simplest.

April 2019: New rates for national minimum and national living wage

The new rates for the National Minimum Wage and the National Living Wage from April 2019 are set out below:

£8.21 per hour for ages 25 and over
£7.70 per hour for ages 21 to 24
£6.15 per hour for ages 18 to 20
£4.35 per hour for those under 18
£3.90 per hour for apprentices.

For your boss to pay the apprenticeship rate there must be a genuine apprenticeship agreement in place. This agreement must be based on training being the main purpose of the agreement, with working being secondary.

The apprenticeship rate only applies to apprentices aged:

those under 19
those 19 or over, who are in the first year of their apprenticeship.

Guides for getting organised

The Stuff Your Boss doesn't want you to know Knowing about the main workplace rights is the first step to getting organised. Find out about your righs at work from here.
The Stuff Your Sexist Boss doesn't want you to know Sexism is present in most workplaces - find out how we can organise to fight back against it!
SF workplace training The Solidarity Federation workplace organiser training programme is designed to give workers the tools and confidence to organise in their workplaces. You may find the direct action based approach we adopt offers a fresh perspective.

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If you would like to support us, you can donate to the Solidarity Federation. You can use your your debit/credit card, or a PayPal account if you have one. Donations will be used to support our work, including our free newspaper Catalyst and our workplace organiser training programme.