IWW delivers a grievance letter to Plymouth vegan cafe over unfair dismissal of a trans employee

IWW deliver a grievance in Plymouth
Support us and go ad-free

On Friday 3 March, workers from the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) trade union delivered a grievance letter to Power Plant Vegan Cafe in Plymouth.

It said:

Today, a group of workers from Bristol IWW attended the Power Plant Vegan Cafe in Plymouth to deliver a grievance letter to the management on behalf of one of our union members. It is alleged that this member was unfairly dismissed, treated in a way that violated the 2010 Equal Rights Act, and was not provided with a safe working environment.
The union has requested a meeting with the cafe owners within the next week.

Claims of harassment and wrongful dismissal

The dismissed cafe worker – who joined the IWW in delivering the grievance – read out a statement saying that they were misgendered and deadnamed while working at the cafe. They also said that they had received targeted comments about their appearance.

They spoke about the effect that their treatment at work had on their mental health:

I passed up opportunities to seek and receive hormone replacement therapy and was made to feel an insane amount of guilt and shame regarding my identity as a trans non-binary person, due to discrimination and harassment. My mental health and well-being hit rock bottom following their behaviour.

The dismissed worker went on to add that they had asked for the problems to be addressed. However, they were “ignored for months”. In January 2023 they say that the cafe fired them with “no warning or justification”.

They explained that they wanted to take the grievance in the:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

true hope that the issues can be resolved and the desired outcomes can be approached. More so, that no other queer person has to live this experience at the hands of this cafe.


The IWW and the dismissed employee expressed disappointment with Power Plant, as the cafe had been a meeting place for Plymouth’s queer community in the past, and has hosted local queer events.

IWW stressed the seriousness of the grievances:

The treatment of our member is very serious and we urge the management of Power Plant Vegan Cafe to address these grievances to an appropriate extent, to accept responsibility for their actions and start the process of repairing some of the damage that has been done.


However, Power Plant has refused to accept responsibility. Instead, they have blamed the dismissed worker, and said that they had been “hostile”. A statement from the cafe said:

The former employee who has recently raised a grievance about their dismissal was given their notice due to repeated inappropriate & hostile behaviour towards one of their employers as well as multiple complaints we received from other members of staff for bullying and causing mental stress by creating a hostile work environment. We absolutely reject their claims of unfair dismissal and harassment.

Their response does not acknowledge the harm done to their former employee, or begin to try to address it. The cafe’s owners did confirm – however – that they will meet with the union.

An injury to one is an injury to all

The IWW’s solidarity for their member in Plymouth shows, once again, that workplace organising is the answer to not getting pushed around by bosses. IWW is a radical grassroots trade union that represents all types of workers across all workplaces. You can find out more about IWW here.

Featured image via IWW (with permission)

Support us and go ad-free

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us