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International day of action for sacked Peruvian garment workers

Today members of Brighton SolFed delivered letters of protest to two Brighton stores. This was part of an international day of action called by workers in Peru and supported by the International Workers Asscociation (IWA), in response to the sacking of 35 trade unionists. The union members were working in a factory for ‘Topy Top’, one of the major suppliers to high street store Zara, and also a supplier for Gap. Both Zara and Gap stores were visited and letters of protest delivered to local management.

Brighton Solidarity Federation wins a campaign against Brighton Hotel!

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 wins dispute with Dry Cleaning business

The dry cleaners, based in the Kemptown area, had been withholding holiday pay of over £1000 from a migrant worker. Despite the worker asking repeatedly for their owed money, the bosses ignored and demeaned them.

The worker came to Brighton Solfed, and we started the process of demanding the owed holiday wages. The management tried their best to scam us too, claiming that you can’t accrue holiday pay during a probation period, and claiming compensation for damaged clothing. We explained to the boss that not only are they completely wrong about these things, they were also flagrantly flouting employment law by withholding holiday and demanding compensation.

The Property Shop Pay Up! A tenant successfully fights back against deposit theft

In October 2017, Brighton Solidarity Federation was organising with a tenant who was facing a £344 deduction from their deposit after moving out of a house administered by the lettings agency The Property Shop in Kemptown. The tenant approached Brighton SolFed for support to organise a public campaign against this, which concluded successfully with full replayment to the tenant after around one month of actions. Below, the tenant tells the story of their experience of this situation, as well as of the public campaign.

 

'We taught them a lesson' - a tenant who successfully fought a deposit deduction tells her story

Below is the write-up of a successful campaign organised by a tenant and Brighton SolFed against a deduction to that tenant's deposit. The three month public campaign concluded in April 2018 with a £450 payment to the tenant, who had had £390 deducted from her deposit. Please note that the article contains brief discussion of post traumatic stress disorder.

Brighton hospitality worker gets paid after a single picket

A Brighton hospitality worker supported by SolFed has won a victory against the exploitative conditions prevalent in the local hospitality sector, as a restaurant paid £1,200 in response to pay demands made by the worker.

The public campaign in support of the worker ended after a single picket - and some back-and-forth emailing - with the worker receiving all the money she had asked for.

The worker's demand of £1200 was in relation to outstanding pay. Unusually, the worker had been told she would be paid a set weekly amount, depending on whether she worked 5 or 6 days. Her contract stipulated that she was employed and paid for 32 hours a week. However, since work days usually lasted around 11 hours, in reality she worked close to double what she had been contracted for.

Brighton Solidarity Federation concludes its campaign against G4Lets

Brighton Solidarity Federation has concluded its campaign against the student lettings agency G4Lets. The campaign was in support of two groups of tenants who had just over £3000 deducted from their deposits. One group of tenants had £2000 taken from their deposit for fire safety, redecoration, and pest control, in spite of an Environmental Health Report from the council informing G4Lets that these issues were their responsibility to resolve as part of landlords' general obligations to the properties they let out.

G4Lets campaign covered in student paper

This week's Badger - the student newspaper at Sussex university - reported on our campaign against the G4 Lets. The agency - who specialise in renting to students made a group of students live in squalid conditions, the responsibility for which the local council’s Environmental Health Report placed firmly on the shoulders of the lettings agents. The tenants had to live in mice-infested, unsafe accommodation for a year, and then had £2000 illegitimately deducted from their deposit for these costs. Here we reproduce the full account written by one of the tenants, as well as our response to claims G4 Lets make in the article.

Council report shows G4 Lets knowingly flaunted legal fire, pest control duties

Watch the tenants from our dispute with G4 Lets explain that an Environmental Health Report shows that G4Lets neglected their legal decoration, fire, and pest control duties, then charged the tenants for decoration, fire, and pest control.

(Click 'read more' for the full story)

Youngs agency: another horror story emerges

As the public campaign continues to grow, Brighton Solfed are being contacted by other local people who have had similar experiences of the mismanagement of properties by Youngs. In one instance, there were distressing and disruptive consequences for the everyday lives of a couple and their son.
A family living in Kemptown had to suffer raw sewage flowing through their home after unidentified damage to a pipe from flats above - and Youngs failed to investigate the damage until after that their floorboards were sodden and underfloor troughs were filled with dirty water. 

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