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Pub’s ‘disgusting’ treatment of staff provokes walkout


UNIONISED bar staff in Brighton went on strike at the weekend for the second Saturday running, accusing bosses of “vile and disgusting” treatment.

A large crowd of trade unionists and campaigners gathered outside the Saint James Tavern in solidarity with the strikers, who withdrew their labour after voting unanimously in May to take industrial action.

Their union, the United Voices of the World (UVW), blasted Zakaria Abedi and Victoria Bennett, who lease the pub from the Stonegate Group, for sacking strike leader Jake Marvin and suspending other workers during the dispute.


The staff are demanding £11.50 an hour, occupational sick pay and an end to zero-hours contracts and cuts to working hours.

They are also taking their bosses to an employment tribunal, alleging sexism, homophobia, transphobia, disability discrimination and anti-semitism.


Bartender Tris Houseman told the crowd: “How they have treated us is vile and disgusting and we’re so tired of it.

“Over and over and over again, we’ve been treated like shit.


“But if we left, their actions would go unpunished, they would get new people in and the cycle would continue.”

UVW general secretary Petros Elia praised the strikers’ resolve and warned that the action, which forced the closure of the pub on both strike days, would continue.


Referring to the owners, he said: “They have no decency, no respect, no dignity.

“But they can’t hide from the losses [in revenue] they’re making. We’ll be back.”


Mr Abedi and Ms Bennett have categorically denied the allegations against them, claiming that the workers have been “poisoned” against them by an individual who was barred from the pub.


Campaigners from Unite, the Communication Workers Union, Acorn and Brighton and Hove Trades Council attended the picket, which was treated to a performance by Las Warmis, an indigenous Ecuadorian dance group. 


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