Skipton’s Bournemouth picket 16th February 2019.

This afternoon five of us picketed Skipton Building society Bournemouth branch in solidarity with Brighton Solidarity Federation’s Housing Union, as part of the continuing  campaign to obtain compensation for tenants rendered homeless by Fox & Sons in Brighton Kemptown.

Dorset IWW supports Brighton tenants against Fox & Sons

Fox & Sons is part of the Connell’s group which owns dozens of similar companies and reported pre-tax profits of £28.9 million in the first six months of 2018. It’s ultimately owned by the Skipton Building society so the campaign is being escalated to their branches and subsidiaries.

Landlord drops Fox & Sons after single picket, whilst our campaign escalates to Jade Software in Australia

As usual we received support from passers-by, the workers at Skipton’s didn’t actually know the company owned  Fox & Sons, they were friendly and even brought us some coffee!

– An injury to one is an injury to all!

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Dorset IWW supports Brighton tenants against Fox & Sons

Thanks to Grace for the picture.

On Saturday Dorset IWW picketed Fox & Sons Bournemouth branch in support of Brighton Solidarity Federation’s Housing Union, to obtain compensation for tenants the company left out of pocket through their negligence. The support we received from passers-by was heartening, and many interesting conversations were had. Despite the weather, it was a rewarding afternoon.

Last September, six students were kept waiting five days after their agreed moving date, at which point their tenancy was abruptly cancelled, rendering them homeless. The agency offered no help, and they were compelled to take overpriced accommodation they could ill afford.

Fox & Sons must accept responsibility and shoulder some of the burden – our comrades are each demanding £380 to cover the extra rent on the property they had to take at the last minute.

Fox & Sons then took another nine days to refund £1650 of the tenants’ money. Fox & Sons Is part of the Connell’s group which owns dozens of similar companies and reported pre-tax profits of £28.9 million in the first six months of 2018. It’s ultimately owned by the Skipton Building society so the campaign is being escalated to take in their branches also.

Fox & Sons received £720 compensation from the landlords, Jears Properties Limited, another multi-million-pound company, and instead of passing it on, simply pocketed the money.

Landlords and agents exploit the shortage of accommodation to make vast profits from those who can least afford it.

Bosses and landlords, agencies and the DWP are all on the same side and it isn’t ours. We don’t need to put up with their shady practices if we stick together.

– An injury to one is an injury to all!

Weymouth and Portland – Action on Wages (WeyPAW)

WeyPAW is a community action group who want to give the people of Weymouth and Portland a pay rise. We take action on the streets, in the media and online to help people understand the various problems they have in getting paid properly, as well as the various legally required payments they are entitled to as employees of businesses in and around Weymouth and Portland. These include Statutory Sick Pay and Holiday Pay, but at the very simple, to ascertain whether they are receiving the UK legally mandated Minimum Wage.

Policy Proposals – Discussion

We need:

  • an integrated strategy to tackle poverty wages and failing services in W&P, using public resources in key areas;
  • a commitment by local councils to pay the real Living Wage, as set by the Living Wage Foundation;
  • a commitment by local councils to equal pay for women, full in-work benefits, and rights at work – and an undertaking to allocate contracts on this basis;
  • a commitment by local councils to end to zero-hours contracts;
  • a commitment by local councils to publish and pursue active strategies to tackle food, fuel and funeral poverty;
  • a commitment by local councils to ban payday loan companies from council advertising spaces;
  • an audit of jobs in W&P, with the participation of local councils, to identify delinquent (“rogue”) employers who evade full payment of wages and in-work benefits, and/or who impose unnecessary charges on employees;
  • trade union organisation to protect rights at work, especially in low-paid sectors including catering, retail and leisure (holiday camps, hotels, tourism);
  • a new agenda for housing that focuses on unoccupied units, a programme of refurbishment and co-operative ownership and/or rental;
  • an urgent review of health provision with direct involvement of the public;
  • an active, high-profile public campaign for improved public transport by road and rail;
  • a collaborative strategy for public “anchor” institutions that provide full-time jobs, rights at work and a continuing contribution to local communities;
  • a working group to advance plans for a University of Dorset based on campuses at Weymouth and Dorchester.
  • Revised policy proposals will be put to MPs, councillors, and all candidates for office in the Unitary Authority and in the next general election. WeyPAW will ask all candidates for their views and intentions.

See WeyPAW policies at www.weypaw.org and on Facebook. Contact WeyPAW at weypaw@gmail.com

CALLOUT: MR. BIELA, START THE REPAIRS!

Join Bristol Solidarity Network’s fight against a slum landlord and for decent housing.

Mr Ernie Biela, of 58 ETHELBERT ROAD, MARGATE, KENT, CT9 1SB is a slum landlord intent on maximum profit and minimum responsibility. A family living in one of his properties in Easton, Bristol have repeatedly asked him for much needed repairs to their home. After 8 years of ignoring his tenant’s requests for a livable home, Mr. Biela recently tried to evict them rather than do the right thing and do the repairs. He has arrogantly flouted the law and disregarded council improvement notices served on him. In phone calls to the tenants he claims to understand what life is like for immigrants and low income families. He is very quick to chase rent, claiming he will use it for repairs, but not as good at fixing the house. He agrees to send builders round to carry out work but instead sends an eviction notice which we found to be invalid. The family has suffered a great deal of stress and anxiety facing the threat of being made homeless.

The house is in an appalling state of disrepair, with a seriously leaky roof, huge cracks in walls and ceilings, broken doors, rotting window frames and intolerable mould, cold and damp. According to the council there is a class 1 hazard of mould. Four family members, including three children, have developed asthma as a result of these conditions they have been forced to live in by the landlord’s neglect.

We will not allow this absentee landlord to bully and threaten this family into keeping quiet about the state of their home. Neither will we let Mr Biela ignore his responsibility to provide a decent home and safe environment for this family.

It’s time to put the pressure on. Please take some time to support this family and make a stand against this bad landlord.

From Tuesday 21st July we are calling for an ongoing communications blockade and constant phone and email reminders for Mr. Biela.
Call and email this slum landlord to add your voice to the calls to stop the stalling and start the repairs. For calls from outside the UK add 0044 instead of the first zero of the phone numbers:

Mr Ernie Biela: Tel. 07917 570624 Email ernie.biela1@btopenworld.com

Mr Biela is the registered director and sole shareholder of 5 companies:

LVG Canterbury Ltd Tel. 01227 714715
Westbere Garage / Canterbury Recovery Services Ltd Tel. 01227 712381
Hedgend Motors Ltd
Mot 4 U Ltd
1 Stop Property Services Uk Ltd

All of these companies are registered here:

6-7 Cecil Square, Margate, Kent, CT9 1BD
Tel. 01843 280004