A worker organising with Brighton SolFed has recently won a dispute with their North Laine employer, Natulia on Sydney Street.
Brighton Solidarity Federation Hospitality Workers have successfully concluded a campaign against a hotel in Brighton. Brighton SolFed had been working with a former employee for payment of unpaid holiday pay, as well as compensation for dangerous working conditions which have had a serious impact on this worker’s health.
The worker was only contracted to work 20 hours a week, but was regularly pressured to work up to 40 hours, doing work that went far beyond their job description. In addition to his usual duties of taking care of linen and rubbish, he was given sole responsibility in evenings for the duties of a room attendant and dealing with all the requests made by guests, acting as luggage porter, cleaner of bar and brasserie toilets, and responsible for dealing with dirty clothes in the kitchen.
Brighton SolFed started a public campaign against Sushimania Brighton with a picket. The campaign is in support of a former worker who they failed to pay properly, resulting in outstanding payment of £1,200.35 in unpaid wages and holiday pay.
After the worker approached Brighton SolFed for support , we tried to resolve the issue amicably. However Sushimania claim that the worker only worked 32 hours per week, when in reality it was twice as much. We have now started a public campaign to make these facts knows.
Cafe Plenty issued legal threats just hours after Brighton Solfed tried to talk to them about £4,400 they owe a former worker. Having made clear they were unwilling to resolve the matter, the cafe's bogus threats triggered a campaign of protest highlighting the plight of the former worker organising with Solfed.
A Solfed member involved in the case explained what happened: “In late November, a couple of us went to hand them a letter about the £4K they owe the former worker. Our approach is always to try to resolve things amicably, by talking to them first and give them a chance to rectify their mistake. Since the owner wasn't there, we just left the letter with a helpful member of staff.
Brighton SolFed is making public a dispute with a cafe who are unwilling to settle outstanding pay of over £4K. The former worker, who stopped work at the establishment in early June has been asking to be paid ever since. As attempts to resolve the issue amicably were ignored or frustrated by Cafe Plenty, Brighton Solfed is now going public to warn potential staff and customers.
After getting nowhere, she approached Brighton Solidarity Federation for support. The business are not disputing they owe the money - in fact they finally paid part of the money owed two weeks ago. However £4,482 is still outstanding. After multiple attempts to resolve the dispute, including a face-to-face meeting, we are now stepping up our public campaign in support of the aggrieved worker.
This year's mayday was celebrated in Brighton with the coming together of different local unions and groups organising against casualised working conditions and the housing crisis. The demo soon headed for a local restaurant that has been underpaying one of our members, and demanding they be paid. The protest marks the start of a dispute, continuing our efforts over the past few years of trying to bring International Workers Day back to its roots in worker militancy and anarchist labour organising.
A dinner lady came to Brighton SolFed when there was nowhere left to go. They were facing a disciplinary hearing after being unfairly blamed for an incident, and they additionally were refused mainstream union representation. Brighton Hospitality Workers helped the worker prepare for the disciplinary and accompanied them to this stressful encounter. Solidarity means supporting your fellow workers, solidarity is what makes us strong.
Holiday pay is a common problem faced by workers in the hospitality industry - especially those on zero-hour contracts who are often unaware of of their legal right to holiday pay. Recently we supported a waitress from a cafe in the North Laine who was demanding holiday pay for herself and her workmates - and who managed to get the £600 she was owed.
I worked a trial shift at the Ginger Dog pub. I was told that it would last for a 'couple' of hours. After three hours of working, I was told that it was going really well and that I had the job. In my experience, bosses in the hospitality sector will say this just to get people to work longer for free. I was asked to stay on and agreed to work for an extra three hours, meaning that I worked for six hours in total. I decided after this to not take the job and I contacted them the next day to tell them. I also requested payment for the full six hours worked. They did not respond to my email. I sent them another email and received no response again. I emailed them again and told them that if they didn't pay me, I would take action via Brighton SolFed, and I sent them some links to articles about previous cases.
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.