Strike over zero-hours contracts at London pub

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Rights fight: staff at the Ivy House want the pub to stop using zero-hours contracts (image: Shen Batmaz)
Rights fight: staff at the Ivy House want the pub to stop using zero-hours contracts (image: Shen Batmaz)

Related tags: Zero-hours contracts, London

Workers at a south London pub took strike action against its use of zero-hours contracts yesterday (30 September).

Management at the Ivy House, Nunhead, Southwark, said they were working with employees to resolve “staffing issues”.

Staff said four workers were “fired without notice or reason” last week, when they were not given further working hours.

The pub was London’s first community pub after residents saved it from housing development in 2013, and operates with some 370 shareholders and a management committee.

It was closed yesterday (Sunday 30 September), as a vocal group of staff and representatives from the Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union (BAFWU) protested outside.

A crowdfunding campaign aimed to raise a £15,000 strike fund for pub employees.

No rights

A representative for the pub’s BAFWU branch argued the contracts meant staff “have no rights in their workplace” despite their “hard work and loyal service to the customers and community”.

The union presented a set of requirements last night, which it will continue to discuss with pub management today. A picket line was set up outside the pub this morning (1 October).

Staff called for their colleagues to be reinstated, zero-hours contracts discontinued and their union recognised. They wanted hearings for staff about why they were let go. 

The management committee said union membership was already welcomed in its staff handbook and it was disappointed negotiations had not reached a resolution yet.

Further discussions 

A committee representative told The Morning Advertiser​ it was not the first time the pub had encountered controversy over zero-hours contracts. It had suggested a fixed-hours model.

The spokesperson said: “We need to agree what we’ve discussed with the union to open up again.

“It’s something as a community pub we need to be doing better on, protecting workers’ rights really.

“It seems we have missed something here and it needs to be dealt with because we want to be doing the best thing by the staff really.”

The committee added it was awaiting a response from the union, in a Facebook post.

No resolution yet

The spokesperson continued: “We have reiterated the option for staff to move to fixed-hours contracts.

“We have explored ways to adopt a model that makes these a structural feature of our rostering process in future.

“We have offered to migrate all staff to a form of fixed-hours contract subject to obtaining legal advice.

"These negotiations have not reached a resolution, which is disappointing, but the management committee is making every effort to reach an understanding with staff.”

The Ivy House was the first pub in the UK to be listed as an asset of community value, and the first building to be bought under the new "community right to bid" provisions of the Localism Act.

Related topics: Legislation

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