Over the past few weeks, GSN has received quite a few contacts from people who are being troubled by (ex)landlords and (ex)bosses. Issues to do with stolen deposits continue to be most frequent, but we also had enquiries regarding rather obscure – to say the least – employment practices and enquiries regarding repairs that landlords were refusing to carry out. Very often we could only help people by directing them towards WestGap.co.uk for legal advice because GSN did not feel that a direct action campaign would have been the right thing to do. This applied when people were still living in the flat or when they were still working for the employer. Repercussions of a direct action campaign in such ‘live cases’ would be very problematic for the people concerned. However, we also worked on a few cases where in the end it did not come to a campaign for various (and good) reasons. And we’re currently trying to find out more about a new case that could become a struggle – so watch this space for a call-out for support.
We also have gone round Glasgow to hand out flyers. The reaction to GSN is, it is fair to say, always very positive. Stories about wage theft and slum landlords abound – it remains, however, a problem that only few people wish to turn their problem into a struggle. The idea that an injury to one is an injury to all and that solidaric support is just round the corner needs to spread a little further still. Also we tend to forget the injustices done to us all too quickly – we often hear that the wage or deposit theft happened a year or two ago and that therefore nothing can be done about it anymore. Probably the thought of revisiting it all is, understandably, an unpleasant one.
The last thing here concerns the great success of the Brighton Solidarity Network with regards to getting wage thefts sorted out through direct action campaign. Our friends in Brighton have supported people working in the catering sector where wage theft seems rampant. GSN needs to develop more (personal) links into sectors where such practices exist.