I’ve joined other MPs in signing a letter demanding the JD Wetherspoon pub chain pay staff laid off because of Coronavirus.
Wetherspoon staff have been told they will not be paid for the first three days of absence if they self-isolate due to coronavirus. Instead, the chain have informed employees they will be subject to regular statutory sick pay rules if they are concerned about exhibiting symptoms of the virus.
Weatherspoon is also telling workers it won’t pay them at all while pubs are closed until it receives money under the government’s “furlough” scheme whereby the state will cover 80% of wages.
This pub chain has thousands of low-paid employees working part-time who have been hit by this irresponsible and callous decision. Tim Martin’s company is forcing workers to choose between doing the right thing for public health or being able to eat and pay the rent.
That is an awful, gut-wrenching position to put loyal employees in. No-one should feel scared about self-isolating because of worries about money. Sick pay should kick in from the first day of absence however much someone earns at JD Wetherspoon and everywhere else. And the chain should pay all laid off workers now rather than expecting them to wait weeks to get their wages.
Dear Tim Martin
WETHERSPOONS – PAY YOUR LAID OFF STAFF
We, the undersigned MPs, are writing to express extreme concern regarding the way Wetherspoons staff have been treated during the COVID-19 crisis, and to add our voices to the following concerns as articulated by the BFAWU Wetherspoons branch:
You employ 40,000 wonderful workers whose skills, hard work and enthusiasm are cherished by the country. They have also generated record profits for your company.
However, Wetherspoons has fallen short in supporting these workers at a time of crisis. Allowing thousands of people to go penniless for a prolonged period of time is disgraceful. So many rely on their weekly income to survive.
COVID-19 is the biggest public health crisis this country has seen in over a century. People are dying – and thousands more are due to die, either from the virus, or through poverty and starvation.
Your workers need wages to support themselves and their families, to pay rent and buy food. We urgently appeal to you to:
1. Stop the gap in pay whilst you’re waiting for government funds to come through. A gap in pay will have major negative consequences for workers and their families,
2. Guarantee 100% of their wages. Losing 20% for your already low paid staff will push people into real hardship.
3. Pay the bonuses they are due in full. With your millions in profits this is more than feasible.
We hope that Wetherspoons will not be remembered as seeking to squirrel away profits during a global crisis causing the deaths of thousands of people.
Instead, we hope that you will seek to continue to make Wetherspoons a safe place to work – and serve your country.