And then there were two...

This is the loading bay of New England House near where I live. On the right is a man - 'Henry'. I wrote a blog post on his defiant and eloquent response to the Lord Falconer assisted suicide bill.

As you can see from the picture, the loading bay comprises of two sleeping bays used by homeless people between the evening and when the first vans and lorries of the day come along, anytime 3am and 5am - which is a perfect wake up call for those Franciscans of the Immaculate who want to sing Matins and Lauds then Prime at 6am. Jason used to sleep here even in winter but has been housed for a long time now in a hostel in Hove.

'Henry' has been joined by Andre, a Romanian who sleeps now in the bay on the left. He came over here recently I think. He was working for Brighton Pavillion Dining Rooms as a kitchen porter, was laid off and couldn't keep up with his rent, so his landlord kicked him out. I don't think, as a Romanian, that he is entitled to housing benefit, but I'm not totally clear on the rights of Romanians. Regardless he is now on the street.

I was interested in why he had moved here to England. He said that in Romania you only make enough wages from work to cover your rent. There is usually not enough money to cover rent and put food on the table. He earned £250 a week as a kitchen porter in Brighton and this was enough for him to just about cover his expenses, until he was laid off. Without wishing to stereotype, I don't think he was laid off for not 'working hard enough'. He was working a 37 hour week by the sound of things and has now spent a week on the street. Say a prayer for him that he might find work.

I told him that my boss Francis is advertising for new staff and that he should apply but that he shouldn't expect £250 a week because from one week to another, its impossible to know how many hours you will get. Rarely, do I receive a weekly wage sleep with anything above £150 and, of course, if you do take time off for holiday, that's time unpaid. At Rotunda, we do not have what you would call a 'contract of employment' so I cannot talk of a 'zero hours contract'.

Rotunda Cafe makes local press

Pictured left is Mary from the cafe. She is holding up aloft for The Argus a petition to the Council to renovate the public toilets outside the cafe. The petition was organised by the boss, Francis, so why Mary is holding the petition I have no idea. Perhaps he is camera shy.

I'm going to start a petition that our boss pays us holiday pay, sickness pay and the rest. Or a petition for high chairs, so that when customers come in and ask for high chairs for babies I can say, "Yes, we have high chairs", rather than, "No, we don't have high chairs", thereby giving the impression that small children and babies are not welcome in the cafe but dogs are. Or a petition that as employees we can give tap water to customers who ask without being rebuked by the boss because "I'm trying to run a business here"...

Essential for the kitchen assistant with eczema
Finally, guess who is not going to Evangelium because he was asked to work on 2nd August, and agreed, only later on to realise that he was meant to be going to Evangelium and this is Gay Pride day?

Oh what joy...

Obviously, I don't have a problem with serving tea, coffee and snacks to homosexuals and lesbians since I do that every time I work at Rotunda, but I hope I am washing dishes that day just because gay Pride day is total unmitigated carnage.

Many customers are pissed or high on drugs by 1pm. Even street drinkers can drink alcohol on the street with impunity on that Gay Pride day, what with 50,000 'respectable people' doing the same. The day after, of course, things return to normal and the police and PCSOs ask them to 'move along now, please' because they're bringing down the reputation of the area.

As readers can imagine, I was really looking forward to meeting, among others, Bishop Philip Egan. There may still yet be places at Evangelium, so why not book today?

Comments

Lynda said…
You know you can request labour inspectors to visit and inspect compliance with the various pieces of labour legislation. You might find that easier than bringing a personal complaint under the legislation. You can always call the employment rights office for advice. You seem to work there far too regularly for it to be casual employment.
I worked with a prince of a man who was born in England and I asked him why he had moved to America with his wife and four children:

I was on a list for new housing and the Gov't was building a new development in my area and I was quite excited that we would be able to move into better quarters but when I contacted the gov't, they told me these new homes were only for immigrants, not for locals

viterbo said…
my only tip - don't make your dosh on a Sunday.