Category Archives: Trade Union activity

Working class women face court fees as evictions keep rising

No time for your Housing issues, we have an election on…

This is what Labour MP for East Ham Stephen Timms said to Chantelle, when she visited him last week as a last resort in her struggle for decent long-term accommodation with her young son in Newham.

Three years ago, Chantelle and her two month old son, were placed by Newham Council, under the Bond Scheme, in private-rented accommodation. The flat has mice and cockroaches, damp, no loft insulation and intermittent problems with the boiler leaving Chantelle and her son with periods of no hot water or heating. Chantelle’s son is in a local nursery and has a place in the school for September 2017.

Out of the blue, in January 2017, Chantelle received a Section 21 Notice of Possession (Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, is the legal eviction notice a landlord can give to a tenant to regain possession of a property at the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy). Frightened by the prospect of homelessness with her young son, Chantelle sought advice and Newham Council advised Chantelle to stay put, not to move out to stay with a family member as she would then be making herself intentionally homeless. She was advised to look for private accommodation in the two weeks that followed and when she was not successful, she was then advised by the housing office to go through with the eviction process and she was told she would not be liable for court fees.

However  outrageously Chantelle has been ordered to pay court costs of £355 to the landlord for this eviction and bailiff’s have been summoned to evict her, creating more stress and anxiety for Chantelle and her son.

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Chantelle’s case worker has said that once the bailiffs have come and Chantelle is on the streets she will be given emergency accommodation, but only out of London. The case worker said that unless a child is in their GCSE year, they are ‘expendable’ and will cope with being moved away from their family, friends and teachers.

Labour Mayor Robin Wales in his address to the Annual Council Meeting last month said that Newham ‘has real Labour values that create for each of us the means to realise our true potential’ and boasted that Newham has ‘amongst the best services in London’ and ‘doing more than other boroughs to get rid of rogue landlords’ and as housing reaches a crisis point, Newham is ‘showing the way for others to follow’.

The reality is that social cleansing continues, with people like Chantelle being forced out of borough and out of London, tearing them away from their family and support networks, their children’s schools and their jobs or job prospects. Meanwhile thousands of homes lie empty in the Newham, not least over 400 homes on the Carpenters Estate in Stratford.

Chantelle will be at STRATFORD MAGISTRATE COURT 389-397 High Street E15 4SB Tuesday 6 June at 2pm. She should not be financially penalised. Chantelle knows that her struggle is the struggle of thousands of people across London. Focus E15 campaign will be there to support her when she requests an extension to stay in her current property and for the court costs to be waived. The struggle goes on to ensure that Chantelle and her young son are not moved out of Newham. 

Social housing! Not social cleansing!

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Focus E15 Campaign against Deliveroo victimisation – let Ben return to work!

Focus E15 campaign would like to send out a message of solidarity to Ben Geraghty who is being victimised by  Deliveroo, the company he has worked for for over a year.  According to a statement put out by his union, the IWGB, on the Couriers and Logistics branch Facebook page, Ben’s contract has been suddenly terminated, without warning, and he has not been offered any more shifts. Many think that there is an obvious reason why this has happened to him: Ben is a prominent union organiser with the IWGB and has been recently campaigning for union recognition and  workers rights for all Deliveroo drivers. This is the real reason why he has been targeted in this way. Ben told Focus E15 campaign that:

These actions clearly represent an attempt, on the part of Deliveroo’s management, to victimise and silence me and, by extension, the union. This is what Deliveroo and the gig economy truly stand for: old style casualisation and anti-union intimidation, poorly painted over with a twenty-first century aesthetic. Myself, the IWGB and its members will never bow to such blatant attempts at union busting as these.

Over the last two years, Ben has been a regular supporter of the Focus E15 campaign, attending our street stalls, events and public meetings. We stand with Ben and urge Deliveroo to immediately reinstate him and recognise the IWGB as the union of  choice for Deliveroo drivers.

Support Ben and the IWGB campaign to unionise the Deliveroo workforce! Stand  for workers rights! Stand up for Ben. Come to a public meeting, hosted by IWGB Couriers and Logistics Branch  on Tuesday 13 December, 7pm-9pm at Somers Town Community Association, 150 Ossulston St, NW1 1EE to organise the fightback.

TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER.

 

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Ben Geraghty, centre, supporting the opening of Sylvia’s Corner  – a community hub for Focus E15 campaign