Wetherspoon backs down and agrees to pay all 43,000 staff for hours worked

25 March 2020, 20:32

Someone painted "Pay Your Staff" on the front of one of the pubs venues
Someone painted "Pay Your Staff" on the front of one of the pubs venues. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

The Wetherspoon pub chain will pay all its 43,000 staff this Friday for the hours worked last week, it was confirmed today.

The firm also said that the first payment to workers under Government's wages scheme will be made on April 3

The company, and its chairman Tim Martin, have been under attack for sending staff home last week, with workers saying they would not be paid.

Wetherspoon drew up plans for their own proposals as to how the government retention scheme would work and submitted them to ministers for approval.

Mr Martin said: "As we have already confirmed, Wetherspoon will pay all our 43,000 staff this Friday for the hours worked last week.

Owner Tim Martin came under fire for suggesting staff get jobs at Tesco instead
Owner Tim Martin came under fire for suggesting staff get jobs at Tesco instead. Picture: PA

"The first payment under the new scheme will be made on April 3, subject to government approval, and weekly thereafter."

The Wetherspoon boss thanked trade body UK Hospitality and the government for "great efforts" in dealing with the logistical issues involved in introducing a complex scheme so quickly.

But JD Wetherspoon has also told its suppliers it will not pay them until pubs reopen after the coronavirus lockdown, it has been reported.

The move risks adding to a backlash against its behaviour during the crisis in which Tim Martin appeared in an outspoken video urging his staff to "get jobs as Tesco".

In an email sent to suppliers, the pub chain said: "We are asking for a moratorium on payments, until the pubs reopen, at which point we intend to clear outstanding payments, within a short timeframe.

“We understand that this puts significant pressure on our suppliers, but we are kindly asking for your assistance during this very difficult period.

“A number of our suppliers have already offered assistance and we would be most grateful for your cooperation as well."

A JD Wetherspoon spokesman told LBC News: "The company was always looking to pay its staff, but wanted assurances that the govt scheme would kick in, which it appears is happening.

"Re suppliers – it has said to them that Wetherspoon needs their help in this difficult time.

"It has stated that suppliers can contact Wetherspoon to discuss the situation, but that it was looking for a freeze on payments until the pubs open."

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