Wetherspoons Cuts Staff's Pay After Government Lockdown Forced Them Out Of Work
Wetherspoon has come under fire after announcing it will not be paying the wages of staff forced out of work due to the government's new Covid-19 guidelines.
The pub chain's chairman Tim Martin told his some 40,000 staff that Friday will be their last payday, while the company waits to be reimbursed by the government for wages.
The move is in stark contrast to brands like Costa Coffee, who have promised to continue paying staff their average wage for the next eight weeks despite being forced to close.
According to letter from Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) circulating on Twitter, a video also heard Martin encourage his staff to find jobs in Tesco.
One thing #COVID19 has made abundantly clear is who the total bastards are. We need a political system that ensures the likes of Mike Ashley, Tim Martin and Richard Branson are never allowed to dominate our lives again. pic.twitter.com/7mRGRMmoUr
- George Monbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) March 24, 2020
The union's letter explained employees were told they would only be paid hours worked up until Sunday 22nd March, when the pub chain was forced to close due government guidance on coronavirus.
It explained employees would not receive any payment from the company until they employed the government's furlough scheme - which pays 80 per cent of wages - "which could be until end of April".
"Employees have been stripped of bonuses we've already achieved, with no confirmation as to how the 80% of pay from the government will be calculated," the letter continued.
It finished by saying employees were encouraged to apply for jobs in Tesco.
Costa Coffee, which has also been forced to close, has promised its store team members their full average weekly pay over eight weeks, while Nando's said it would "make sure that everybody affected is supported during the coming weeks".
However, Wetherspoons claims there has been a "complete misinterpretation" of the message given to employees.
In a statement given to Tyla, Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: "Wetherspoon sent a video by the chairman Tim Martin, a letter from CEO John Hutson and other information to all employees.
"In those communications it made clear that all employees would get paid this Friday for all work carried out until the pubs shut.
"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."
I started with Wetherspoons when I was 19, through two degrees, sickness, and moving cities. I've given them all major holidays. Closed then been in at 9am the next day. Had glasses and drinks thrown at me, broken up fights, and been threatened by 3 men in masks. All for nothing.- V :crystal_ball: (@VictoriaCJordan) March 24, 2020
It added that unlike many other hospitality companies, Wetherspoon is "retaining all its employees".
Speaking on encouraging staff to apply for jobs in supermarkets, the spokesperson added: "Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said to employees in a video that supermarkets were urgently looking for staff, since all trade from pubs, restaurants and cafes had transferred to supermarkets in the last few days."
Wetherspoons joins hundreds of business forced to close their doors after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the country to stay at home.
Featured Image Credit: PA