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Protesters make a stand outside Crawley coffee shop after wage dispute

Megaphone and banners were used as people demanded a resolution.



Photo courtesy of Dan Dobson

Shoppers in Crawley town centre today may have come across members of the community who were participating in a peaceful protest demanding a young mans wages to be paid.

The protesters claimed that Affogato coffee shop owed an ex-employee unpaid wages after ending his contract with them.

Photo courtesy of Kiran Khan

Photos from outside the café show numerous people holding placards and waving small flags.

Photo courtesy of Stuart G. @SGunatillake

Whilst the protesters were not preventing customers from entering the premises the impact of the number of people there and the use of a megaphone may have had a detrimental effect on business.

At one point police were seen at the protest.

Trade Unionist Dan Dobson who helped organise the protest said:

“It has now been a full month since Harry Sheppard was ‘let go’ by Affogato and he has still not received his outstanding wages for several weeks’ work. Despite numerous broken promises, Harry’s wages are still being withheld. The owner did write a cheque after repeated conversations, but yesterday it emerged that he decided to cancel the cheque before it could be successfully cashed. That discovery led to today’s protest being called at short notice to apply pressure to the owners.”

“The owners have acknowledged that they owe Harry the wages, but they have continuously delayed paying the outstanding amount. An agreement was signed by both parties today for payment to be made within the next five days.”

Harry Sheppard commented saying,

“Today we protested outside Affogato coffee shop in Crawley because they owe me over a months wages. After being shown the door because they were overstaffed, the management have avoided and delayed paying me repeatedly. Last week they seemingly gave in and handed me a cheque only to then call the bank and cancel it. This is not on and as it turns out all the other staff members have not been paid either. The management left me with no choice but to take action and, with the support of local friends and my union, UNITE Community, we effectively shut the shop down. I am still waiting to be paid but I have made an agreement with the management and a date has been set which hopefully they live up to.”

The protest started at 1100 today and was called off at 1600 after a meeting finally took place between the owner, Harry Sheppard and Harry’s friend Dan Dobson which was also facilitated by Crawley Police.

Both Harry and Dan said they wanted to extend a special thank you to PC Barton, who they say did a ‘fantastic job’ facilitating a difficult meeting to ensure a resolution was reached.

The protesters say that providing the owners keep to the agreement, the protest could now be over but that if the agreement is broken then there will be a significantly larger demonstration next weekend.

Affogato Café has been contacted for comment.


And the winner of Crawley’s Christmas Shop winner is…

Henry Smith MP has visited Zoe’s Florist to congratulate them on being named the winner of his Festive Crawley Christmas Shop Window competition.



Crawley’s MP presented the shop on Gales Drive in Three Bridges with a certificate congratulating them on their achievement.

The store, which sells special bouquets with stunning modern designs, as well as floristry for weddings and parties, sympathy and funeral flowers, and artificial displays, has a window display capturing the spirit of the festive season, inspired by the 2004 film ‘The Polar Express’.

Henry said;

“With so many brilliant entries, it was difficult to narrow them down to a winner and two runners-up in my Festive Crawley Christmas Shop Window competition.

“I’m grateful to all of the entrants for their hard work to help Crawley get into the Christmas spirit. With not long to go until the big day, there’s time to get those last-minute gifts for family and friends!

“I was delighted to go to Zoe’s Florist to congratulate Leanne and the team, and to thank them in person for all they’re doing to bring Christmas cheer to our town!”

Leanne Webb, Manageress of Zoe’s Florist, commented;

“It was a privilege to be offered the opportunity to enter Henry Smith MP’s ‘Festive Crawley Christmas Shop Window’ competition this year. I know that there are many stores around Crawley that put up some really fantastic decorations, so I was over the moon to hear that our store was to be picked as winner!

“Throughout the year we try to create window displays that have a special meaning and provoke thought in our customers and passers-by. I personally just love Christmas and this year we decided to go with the theme of ‘The Polar Express’ – a modern children’s classic that really embodies how special Christmas should be for children. I have found it wonderful seeing the local school children pass by the display, their faces full of excitement and wonderment.

“I want to thank Henry again for picking Zoe’s Florist as his ‘Festive Crawley Christmas Shop Window’ competition winner and I look forward to the prize of a personal tour around Parliament for myself and my staff.”

Shops right across Crawley were invited to take part in Henry Smith MP’s Festive Crawley Christmas Shop Window competition.

Runners-up were Chickidee in County Mall, which offers beautiful and affordable home interiors, giftware and stationery, and Bodyworks Day Spa on Church Walk in Crawley town centre, which provides spa treatments using organic, natural and ethically sourced products, a hair styling and colouring service, and a mobile service for bridal and big day preparation.

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