Protest in support of Brighton pub strike

Brighton Socialist Party members

On 25 June, around 100 demonstrators protested outside the St James Tavern in Kemptown, Brighton, to support the ongoing strike of hospitality workers at the pub. Supported by the United Voices of the World union, staff are demanding an end to zero-hour contracts, a pay rise from the minimum wage of £9.60 to £11.50, and full sick pay that includes cover for Covid-19-related sicknesses.

The £11.50 is in line with what other local employers offer. The full sick pay demand follows a similar campaign run by a former employee of the Walrus Pub, who gained a settlement when dismissed due to whistleblowing over the policy to deny sick leave to those with Covid-19.

Representatives from Brighton and Hove Trades Council, Communication Workers Union, RMT, National Education Union, GMB, Fire Brigades Union, Unison, Unite and others all showed up in solidarity with the striking bar staff. In the evening, one of the workers was reportedly assaulted by the pub landlord in the street outside St James Tavern. The strikers have also been subjected to alleged abuse from their employer, as well as discrimination following allegations of transphobia, sexism and antisemitism. A manager has been suspended by the landlord due to his involvement in the organisation of the strike. St James Tavern has also attempted to hire strike breaking staff, before ultimately closing the pub at 3pm on the day of the strike. On 30 June, it was announced that two of the strikers have been fired by the pub.