WORKERS at a bar are to walk out on strike over pay and working conditions.

Staff at the Saint James Tavern in Kemp Town, Brighton, are demanding an end to zero-hours contracts, a minimum pay increase to £11.50 and a full sick pay scheme.

They say they have “had enough of low wages” and are calling for a sick pay scheme which includes cover for Covid-19-related absences, rather than the basic Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

Staff also want a security response team on site at all times and voluntary recognition of United Voices of the World (UVW) as their trade union.

They will walk out on Saturday, June 25, and Saturday, July 2, with further dates to be announced at a later time after voting unanimously to strike.

Victoria Bennett and Zak Abedi, leaseholders of Saint James Tavern, say all bar staff are paid at least £9.50 per hour, with the assistant manager and manager on annual salaries.

“We’re not breaking any laws here,” they said.

“All staff receive their holiday pay and sick pay. We have even paid some staff in advance when they are going on holiday or need money earlier as they are waiting for their student loans.”

However, bar manager Jake Marvin said he and his co-workers at the pub in Madeira Place are striking for “the basic right to respect in the workplace”.

“After multiple opportunities to come to the negotiating table, Zakaria and Victoria have left us no option other than to go on strike,” he said.

“We demand a real living wage of £11.50 an hour, full sick pay, an end to precarious and often exploitative zero-hour contracts and drastic changes to what we feel is an increasingly hostile work place.

“A change is coming. The only variable is when.”

Bartender Tris Houseman said: “We’ve had enough of feeling disrespected and neglected. We deserve to be treated with the same level of care our bosses take to protect their own income.”

All those striking are part of the trade union United Voices of the World (UVW).

Kate Flood, UVW trade union organiser, said: "After trying repeatedly to engage with bosses only to be ignored, workers have been left with no choice but to strike.

“Hospitality strikes are rare, and it is even rarer for 100 per cent of workers to vote in favour of strike action.

“These brave workers are demonstrating that hospitality workers do not have to accept less than they are owed, and are setting the standard for badly needed change across the sector.”

But Victoria and Zac said it’s common to have more staff in the summer periods and less staff in the winter months, “hence why zero-hour contracts are utilised”.

“Staff are well aware of this when being interviewed by our manager.

“The staff are requesting a permanent security door person at our public house, which is not viable for us being such a small pub in Kemp Town. We are not in the high street.”