Good morning, and welcome to this week's Seagull briefing! We've been doing some shoe-leather reporting for you on the Saint James Tavern strike and inadvertently qualifying for the finals of a skittles tournament—you'll have to ask us about that separately becuase it's not relevant to the news, which now follows after a brief interlude asking you to:
🗞News This Week🗞
things are shutting down, albeit some things only temporarily because of strikes
Strike action starts for workers at Saint James Tavern
Long-awaited strike action started at St. James's Tavern on Saturday, 25th June.
We reported last month how workers at the St. James’s Tavern were voting to go on strike over pay, conditions and workplace discrimination, and on a 100% turnout staff voted unanimously to strike.
The workers intended to walk out of work at 4.3opm to strike, however the pub closed early at 3pm. Multiple unions including RMT, UNISON, UNITE, GMB, NEU, IWW, ACORN, UCU and SOLFED turned out in support, with speeches from those striking, Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP, councillors and local union reps.
Some of the workers being balloted, organised with United Voices of the World (UVW), are also suing the management for alleged harassment and discrimination, including allegations of sexism, transphobia, homophobia, disability discrimination and anti-Semitism.
Their demands include no more zero-hours contracts, a minimum pay of £11.50 for everyone, full sick pay including for Covid-19, no cuts to hours, a security response team on site at all times, and voluntary recognition of the UVW.
They plan to strike again this Saturday, 2nd July, outside St. James's Tavern at 4.30pm.
Language school shuts down due to change in demand
A private language school will be closing this year due to 'changes in international student demand'.
Bellerbys College, which was founded in Hove in 1959 and teaches 800 international students, said:
Although this chapter is coming to a close, we are deeply proud of three decades of achievement by Bellerbys College students who have come to us from across the world and who often made lifetime friendships as they pursued their educational aims.
We are also truly grateful for the positive impact our teachers and support staff at Bellerbys College have had on the education, careers and lives of thousands of young people, and we are committed to supporting current students and affected staff to the best of our ability over the coming months.
Several other language schools in the city have shut down in recent years, including Regent Brighton, BSCB, and Sprachcaffe Brighton, due to Brexit measures and Covid lessening the demand.
However, demand for free English language classes has rise, with more than 100 Ukrainians registering for a government-funded language course in the last five weeks with Functional Skills UK, in Eastern Road. They have had to hire extra tutors as a result.
Bellerbys College will close its doors for the final time on Wednesday 31st August. Enquires should be directed to [email protected].
🖋 NIBS 🖋
- After multiple reports of dead seagulls in and around Brighton Marina, it was confirmed by the government that they died of bird flu. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) investigated and found that three herring gulls died of bird flu from June 12 to June 18. It is advised people do not touch any dead birds and to report all dead and visibly sick birds to DEFRA/APHA on 03459 33 55 77.
- A new trial date has been set for Pietro Addis, the teenager charged with murdering Sue Addis, of Monday 20th February. To find out more about the case, read our coverage here.
💥The Big One💥
Council landlord crackdown
What's happening? The council has committed to cracking down on private landlords discriminating against people who claim benefits by not allowing them to rent.
Good! We agree! Members of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Housing Committee have now voted for the End Housing Discrimination motion, committing the council to:
- Adopting a policy opposing benefits discrimination, including 'No DSS' policies but also practices such as charging rent upfront and asking for guarantors of tenants because they are on benefits.
- Signposting information to tenants and prospective tenants to challenge such discrimination.
- Including a commitment to desisting from housing discrimination as a provision in future landlord licensing schemes or a future ethical landlord charter.
Isn't discrimination illegal? It is, and yet research from renters union ACORN found that landlords are still not accepting tenants who claim benefits, and in many cases, renters on benefits are asked to have a guarantor or pay several months of rent upfront, sometimes up to six months' total.
What have ACORN said? The following:
This is a huge win for renters in Brighton, many of whom have faced discriminatory practices and the prospect of being priced out of renting in the city due to receiving housing benefits, Universal Credit or a low income.
What happens next? Something else that came out of the meeting is that the council is considering looking into ways of extending a scheme where it acts as a guarantor for people.
Every Labour and green councillor on the committee, eight total, voted for the proposals, with the two Conservatives abstaining.
👉Finger On The Pulse👈
snails, mermaids, other misc. animals (but no animals in our vegan food recs)
🎶Gigs: Snail Mail (aka Lindsey Jordan) will be at Chalk on Thursday (30th June)—very good indie rock (tickets here). Political punk rockers Mannequin Pussy are at the Green Door Store on Friday 1st July (tickets here). On the same night, The Get Up Kids are at Chalk, with their second-wave emo Missouri rock music (tickets here). Also, our editor wants you to know that if you're going to Love Supreme on Saturday and seeing Tom Misch, she's very jealous and wishes she were there.
🎥Cinema: I've Heard The Mermaids Singing, groundbreaking Toronto new wave film providing 'a playful, humorous and complex look at the many different kinds of desire and admiration between women'—showing at Dukes at Komedia on Sunday 3rd July.
✊ Political Education: The Cowley Club is showing The Animal People, a film about animal rights activists with an introduction to Brighton hunt saboteurs and with funds raised going to Bristol Kill The Bill defendants on Wednesday 29th June.
☕️ Where to eat? 🥪
☕️Brunch:Neighbourhood, on Gloucester Road, is a wonderful spot for a coffee and vegan bites to eat—and as much of their food as possible is locally supplied. We'd strongly recommend their Neighbourhood Breakfast.
🍱Dinner: The Vurger Co, on Brighton Place, is a smashing place for some vegan junk food. We'd suggest the Buffalo Vurger with tater tots and a strawberry milkshake (sadly their much-loved Jammie Dodger milkshake is not currently available, despite our technical director having emailed Vurger head office to plead for its return).
🍻Pint: The Mucky Duck, on Manchester Street, just down the road from the St James' Tavern, if you're looking for a drink after striking. A cozy pub with a cute garden and nice whiskey glasses 🥃