Another victory for Brighton Hospitality Workers and for direct action! In February, two members of Brighton Hospitality Workers (BHW) brought unpaid holiday entitlement issues to the group, incurred while both had worked at the Brighton premisis of a transnational hotel chain. The hotel's housekeeping staff were contracted to work there by the UK operation of an international recruitment exploiter with a reputation for withholding pay, particularly after contracts had been terminated. One worker was owed £286 in holiday pay for leave she was prevented from taking, despite repeated requests to her manager, as well as 2 days' outstanding sick pay. The second worker was owed £180 in holiday pay, also for leave she was prevented from taking, again despite repeated requests – in December her boss told her she 'had lost' her right to take paid leave.
After several months of organising, Brighton Hospitality Workers are beginning to deliver the goods. Three members recently approached us with issues concerning unpaid wages and holiday entitlement from former employers, all with employment agencies and on zero-hours contracts. Demand letters were sent and within 48 hours one worker had wages paid in full, amounting to £264. However, the bosses were dragging their heels over paying holiday entitlement for untaken leave and another demand letter was sent, again resulting in payment of £95. Another worker’s demand letter resulted in payment of £358 in owed wages, although this should have been £385 and we’re not giving up on this. The third worker, who was with the same scumbag agency, is still owed £176 in unpaid holiday entitlement after the demand letter was ignored.
Encouraged by the positive response to our recent publicity campaign, Brighton Hospitality Workers are holding our first open meeting. This will be an opportunity for workers to meet, share experiences and discuss how we can collectively tackle issues in the workplace, no matter how seemingly minor. We’ll be promoting the benefits of workers’ self-organisation in a sector where lack of employment rights and exploitation are commonplace. Towards mutual support and solidarity - all welcome!
Monday 2nd December, 6-8 pm at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton BN2 4JA (near to St. Peter’s Church & opposite Co-Op supermarket).
Curzon Head Office has decided to close tomorrow, Friday, in anticipation of the Curzon Workers' planned communications blockade. So workers have decided to move forward the action to TODAY, THURSDAY. Please could you start doing your stuff!
Curzon workers, who have been fighting a high-profile battle for union recognition, are requesting a communications blockade of the Curzon head office.
Please call the following managers and demand a living wage and an end to zero hours contracts for the workforce:
Rob Arthur, Operations Director: 0207 438 9521
Lynne Franks, HR Consultant: 0207 438 9500 & 07949696244
October saw the launch of the Brighton Hospitality Workers, formed in response to the many workplace issues endured by SolFed members and their colleagues working in this sector, arguably the most exploitative in the city. BHW plans to bring hospitality workers into regular contact with one another to promote workers’ rights, solidarity and mutual support in this the most precarious and low paid of industries.
BHW has been approached by workers receiving cash-in-hand wages as little as £3 p/hour, working 10-hour shifts without breaks and being hired and fired at will. The initiative was launched with a poster campaign and visits to some of the most notorious employers, where contact was made with front-of-house and kitchen staff to discuss their rights at work and promote the benefits of organisation in combating illegal practice and poor pay and conditions.