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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.

“They think they can do whatever they want” - a tenant's story

Earlier this month, we helped an international student get back her holding deposit from a lettings agency. Here is the tenant's story.

The agency were nice in the beginning, like every other agency. However they kept asking if I still wanted the flat. It made me feel quite pressured, so I paid the holding deposit of £650. I thought this was excessive, but the agency assured me that I would not lose the money as long as I proceeded with the tenancy application. Despite the deposit, the agency could still change whatever they wanted . They tried to postpone the advertised moving in date without my agreement, and referred to it being “subject to contract”. So if I said no, I would lose the deposit. How is it fair that they could hold my money against me and change the terms of tenancy in their favour!

Deposit Theft Campaign against King & Chasemore Lettings intensifies

A lettings agency is facing a growing campaign by an aggrieved tenant supported by Brighton Solfed after refusing to pay back a holding deposit.  This Saturday saw Solfed redouble our efforts in a campaign aiming to get a tenant what she's owed – and show that ordinary people don't have to accept being ripped off by lettings agencies.

Brighton SF opens a dispute against letting agent King & Chasemore

Brighton SolFed has started a dispute against the Hove branch of the letting agency King & Chasemore  The agency has stolen the holding deposit of a tenant. SolFed has been trying to find a settlement of the dispute the last coupld of weeks. The amount demanded from the agency is £425.

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!

Caffe Bar Italia : frequently asked questions

For the past few weeks we've been holding weekly pickets of a cafe in Hove in support of a former worker who was not paid properly. We have talked to hundreds of people and here we are addressing some of the most commonly asked questions about the case.

Yolanda worked at Caffe Bar Italia from May until September 2014 on a 20hours/week contract at £6.50/hour. However the cafe management didn't pay her for the contracted 20 weekly hours as she was sent home whenever this suited the cafe - in violation of her legal contract. On top of that she wasn't paid her holiday entitlement. Yolanda then approached us for support.

In late November we went to Caffe Italia to hand over a letter explaining the situation, and to have a chat to find an amicable solution.  We acceeded to several of the cafe's requests to be given more time until a meeting was agreed in the presence of their solicitor for December. The cafe cancelled this with 2 hours notice, refusing to communicate further. At the same time the cafe put pressure on Yolanda through mutual friends. This left us with no option but to start our public campaign on 13. December, which we have maintained since. Soon after, Yolanda left the UK - if it's hard to live on a part-time minimum-wage  job, it becomes impossible when you don't get paid for nearly half your contracted hours.

Cafe Bar Italia is still refusing to pay!

In recent weeks, we have continued our public campaign against Caffe Bar Italia for unpaid holiday and unpaid contracted hours for a total of £1.264 to Yolanda, a former worker.

In February, Brighton SolFed decided to temporarily suspend the actions because what seemed an attempt by the management to solve the conflict and pay what the worker is owed. However, the company offered only a fraction of the amount owed, fully taking advantage of Yolanda's precarious situation.

Brighton Hospitality Workers: Dispute with Caffe Bar Italia enters second week

Brighton Solfed are continuing pickets of a rogue employer in Hove in solidarity with a former cafe worker, Yolanda, who is owed £1,264 in holiday pay and unpaid contracted hours. 

Over the past week, Brighton SolFed have proved to the pathetic boss of Caffe Bar Italia that this dispute will not disappear by pretending that nothing is happening. We have been very clear: we will not stop until Yolanda is paid the hours that she had guaranteed and her holiday entitlement.

Hospitality campaign takes on cafe in Hove

On Saturday, the 13th of December, the first picket against Caffe Bar Italia took place. Around 11 in the morning, a group of 10 SolFed members met in George Street (Hove) and after trying unsuccessfully to reach an agreement with the owner, started the picket outside the business.

This conflict started a few weeks ago when a worker contacted SolFed's Brighton Hospitality Workers because she had not been paid the amount of £1,264. Apart from the holiday pay that she was owed, her contract stipulated a minimum number of hours which were not offered to her. A demand letter was sent with the boss requested to respond. The boss refused to pay and insisted that he didn't have to pay her for “the hours she didn't work”; nevertheless, the law says that a worker should work at least the minimum hours his contract says.

If you think the minimum wage is too generous, Holland & Barrett would love to give you a job

On Saturday 19th May Holland and Barrett once again felt the heat in Brighton and Hove as the Solidarity Federation staged a further picket just a week after the last one. This time we used the opportunity of our monthly tenants’ and workers’ rights stall to target the health food chain in George Street, Hove.

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