Brexit-loving pub chain Wetherspoons is refusing to pay its staff before the company has received government support resulting from the coronavirus lockdown, a trade union has claimed.
According to a statement issued by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), the pub chain is allowing its workers to go unpaid until the company receives government support, which might not arrive until the end of April.
The union issued a letter yesterday, presumably from a member of Wetherspoons staff, which read:
“After waiting for three days for word from our head office, today we were informed that the company would pay us only for the hours we have worked up until 22nd March.
“Whilst other companies such as Costa have promised their staff 8 weeks fully paid, Wetherspoons have left over 40,000 people without their next pay date. With no means of paying for rent, bills or food, and no warning.”
Last week, the government announced it will pay 80% of the salaries of workers affected by coronavirus. While this help will cover Wetherspoons staff, the money will be issued in the form of government grants, that might not arrive until April.
Therefore, workers are still reliant on companies to plug the gap, until government support arrives.
That said, this policy from Wetherspoons will come as no surprise to those who have been following the escapades of its owner, Tim Martin.
Last week, Martin bemoaned the government’s decision to close pubs to stop the spread of the virus, and even rebranded as a scientist to claim the virus does not spread in pubs. (It most certainly does).
And Martin is not the only champagne-swiller to let his staff meet financial peril. Last week, Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic said it would not be paying staff sick pay, despite Branson’s four billion fortune.
Those who will be impacted by these closures, of course, are not loaded company owners, but the staff that allow them to prosper.
“It is clear that Wetherspoons hold no regard for the financial and mental wellbeing of their employees.”
It seems they are right.