Wetherspoons stops staff pay until government reimbursement

Daniel Fowler
March 26, 2020

NHS worker Robert Good spotted the graffitied pub-front on Wednesday morning.

In the letter, which has been widely circulated, it stated: "Whilst other companies such as Costa have promised their staff eight weeks fully paid, Wetherspoons have left over 40,000 people without their next pay date".

However, Mr Martin cited concerns that there could be some delay to the payment of any wage subsidy.

It came after Wetherspoons owner Tim Martin told 40,000 workers in a video they should consider taking jobs at supermarkets including Tesco, after his pubs were forced to close over the weekend because of Covid-19 lockdown measures.

"I know that nearly all our trade now has gone to supermarkets - not only our trade, but the trade from cafes, leisure centres and restaurants".

In a video message to staff, Mr Martin suggested they could find employment at supermarkets while his pubs remain shut, claiming that Tesco wants 20,000 more workers to meet growing demand.

"From that point on we will not receive any payment from Wetherspoon until they receive the government grant, which could be until the end of April", the letter says.

The boss then said he thought it was a "good idea" for Wetherspoons staff to go and work in a supermarket. They need to pay rent and buy food, and because of the low wages he's always paid them, they will not have savings to depend upon.

Calling his approach "selfish", he added: "His selfish approach says unless the government puts money into my bank account today he'll let the workers who have made him rich suffer".

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"I'll be homeless in two weeks with no income".

Rachel Reeves, who chairs the House of Commons business committee, said the company's alleged action was unacceptable.

JD Wetherspoon (JDW.L) has caved to public pressure and said it will continue to pay staff throughout the coronavirus shutdown.

"Wetherspoon sent a video by the chairman Tim Martin, a letter from CEO John Hutson and other information to all employees".

"Weekly paid employees will be paid weekly on a Friday from April 3, while those on monthly pay will be paid monthly, on the 27th of each month, from April 27 â€" although an interim payment will be made on April 9, said Wetherspoon.

Wetherspoon also denied that Martin told employees to work for Tesco instead.

"After that, the company would utilise the government "furlough" scheme, which pays 80 per cent of wages, details of which are in the course of being finalised between licensed trade representatives and the government at the present time".

However, if they chose to leave and work elsewhere, they would no longer be eligible for the government scheme.

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