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The Bristol Cable

Can you spot the difference?

In April the Cable published a long running investigation into the severe exploitation of workers at the Lopresti ice cream business based in Bedminster. This was followed up by shocking revelations about their lettings business, made possible by the bravery of those who have been exploited by the business owner Sam Lopresti and some members of his family.

In researching the story, the Cable took photos of Lopresti ice cream vans, of which a dozen are dotted over the city, including the one outside the M-Shed on the harbourside. Now, a Cable member has highlighted a cack-handed effort to reduce the negative fall-out of the investigation: They have removed ‘Lopresti’ from the van! Can you spot the difference?

Don’t worry though, it will stick: We are working hard to make sure they don’t get away with years of exploitation.

Before publication…
Ice cream van with Lopresti on the front
After publication…
Ice cream van WITHOUT Lopresti on the front

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  • Tim James says:

    It’s hard to take these sorts of things seriously in a publication that openly pays only 75% of the national minimum wage, and seems to consider that acceptable.

    • Hi Tim. Thanks for your comment.
      Like many community organisations and start ups, Cable team members do volunteer some of their time. We are working very hard to move away from volunteer hours. However, there are major distinguishing factors that make our arrangement incomparable to that of the Lopresti business:

      1. Transparency and expectations: The Lopresti business advertises that they pay the National Minimum Wage, only for workers to find out that they then recieve £2.50 in thier cash in hand payments. This practises has only been revealed by a long term investigation by the Cable. By contrast, the Cable is completely transparent about the difficult situation we are in, and Cable co-ordinators get +100% more pay and other benefits not afforded to Lopresti workers.

      2. Pay scales and profits: At the Cable, everybody gets the same flat rate. The Cable made the difficult but ethical decision to offer some pay to all co-ordinators, rather than paying a small amount of people a good rate and requiring 100% free labour from others. At Lopresti’s the owner will reap all the profits from the low pay from the ice cream business and the 15 properties (at least) they own and lease.

      3. We are working to resolve this issue and aim to do by the end of the year. The Lopresti businesses’ exploitative practises will only be stopped by the Cable’s investigations, and consequent regulatory action by the authorities.

      Again, thanks for you comment. This is not an issue we take lightly.

      We will continue to be transparent, do what is best for the organisation and take the lead from our 1,600 paying members who have helped take the Cable this far.

      best wishes

      Adam, (Cable operation and media coordinator)

      • Tim James says:

        You can wrap it up in all the ethical spin you want, but either an organisation fulfills its legal obligation to pay the national minimum wage or it doesn’t. If Lopresti doesn’t, they should be investigated by HM Revenue & Customs and punished for not doing so. If the Bristol Cable doesn’t, they should be investigated by HM Revenue & Customs and punished for not doing so.

        • Matthew says:

          Who is the “they” in the cable!? are you saying the underpaid people who make up the cable co-op need to be punished for volunteering!! or do you just mean if the cable has any volunteers then they should shut-down!? do you extend this critic to oxfam and homeless sheters? your erecting a straw man. Loprestis and the cable are not the same.

          If you want people paid, donate to the cable!

          • Tim James says:

            They areBRISTOL CABLE LIMITED,
            Registered Society Number IP324478,
            Registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Society Act 2014. If you want to employ people you have to pay them the national minimum wage. If you want people to volunteer, that’s different but you can’t be asked go do it as a condition of your employment.

  • Michelle Shore says:

    I lived in one of their properties and I know that I got ripped off, I never got my deposit back, I have had Bristol water chasing me for unpaid Bills, I also had British gas chasing me for unpaid bills and I’ve not lived in this property for at least 6 years so you can imagine the size of the bills.
    I’m one very unhappy Lady with this family.

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