SydSol fights sexist, exploitative cafe owner

Submitted by Aunty Jack on April 20, 2016

Howdy all.

The Sydney Solidarity Network just opened a new fight against a particularly nasty shop in Leichhardt called Grounded Bean Cafe. It's in support of a backpacker who was harassed on the job and paid $17 an hour. She's now demanding $1,108 in backpay - which would bring her wages up to the bare legal minimum for the hours she worked.

More info here: https://sydsol.net/2016/04/19/grounded-bean-cafe-pay-up/

syndicalist

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Win the fight and solidarity!

Aunty Jack

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

UPDATE:

After our third picket yesterday Grounded Bean Cafe agreed to pay up all the $1,108 outstanding!

It was all quite a sudden turnaround. At the beginning of the day the boss threatened to break a picketer's arm and was saying that he'd never pay the money and would "take us down". An hour later some kind of high-powered boss from mall management came out (the cafe is part of a mall complex), told the cafe boss that he was costing the entire mall business and he needed to fix things up immediately, and then the he suddenly changed his tune and was quite accommodating. He agreed to process the money this Thursday, and we said we'd be back if he didn't. Then we marched down the street chanting "Who won? WE WON! Who won? WE WON!" over and over. Glorious stuff :D

And here's a lovely photo of the Grounded Bean boss, George, smooching Julie Bishop:

The Pigeon

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Good on y'alls!!! CLASS ANTAGONISM!

Chilli Sauce

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Congrats!

Steven.

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Great stuff, well done and congratulations to the worker for having the courage to take on the boss. What an arsehole he is!

Khawaga

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Awesome. Great stuff.

MT

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nice to hear!

I would like to ask some things:
1) It will be clear that you definitely won on Thursday, right?
2) Will you somehow deal with the harassment issue? (I guess it might continue and affect other workers, the same for the wage theft in fact)

Thanks

Aunty Jack

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hey MT, thanks for the questions.

Yeah, the money came through as promised on Thursday night. Down to the exact dollar. So a pretty clear victory. I don't think the cafe boss had much choice in the end to be honest. I'm pretty sure the cafe boss would have held out for much longer, but the mall management - who had the power to terminate the cafe's lease - just wanted to make the problem go away. It was an interesting example of disunity/conflicting interests between the different sections of the of the bosses.

The harassment issue is a tough problem, likewise for wage theft. They'll probably both continue, although possibly not quite as bad as before. It really depends on whether staff employed there decide to act and whether we make any effort to continue reaching out to other cafes owned by the same boss. Having said that, underpayment and sexual harassment are completely rampant across the whole hospitality industry. It'll really take some kind of base union for hospitality workers - a bit like what Brighton SolFed have - to make a lasting different there.

MT

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks! May we use your answers for the article for Priama akcia website about the conflict?

MT

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just wondering, what was the debate over the decision to remove the articles about the conflict from you website (or delete the name of the cafe, I am not sure if I got it right)? I can see that businesses can come with such deals and although I personally disagree with giving them such an easy way out and damage control, I am honestly interested in how you discussed the issue and what were the different ideas about this.

Aunty Jack

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The decision was made by the café worker at the centre of the fight, and she said she didn't care either way. So then everyone at the picket voted on it, and the vote was to take the name down. Personally I was against taking out their name for the reasons above, and argued strongly that we keep it up on our website, but the vote was in favour of removing it.

On an amusing note, the café has now ceased to exist. It just closed down and is all boarded over. LOL.

MT

6 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just FYI, this is a Slovak version of the story written from information published by sydsol and discussed here:
http://www.priamaakcia.sk/spravy/Rychle-vitazstvo-Solidarnej-siete-v-Sydney-v-spore-s-miestnou-kaviarnou.html