Tim Martin agrees to pay Wetherspoon's staff following pressure from MPs

The Wetherspoon pub chain has now agreed to pay all its 43,000 staff for the hours worked last week, following mounting pressure which included a letter signed by 95 MPs, five of which represent Sheffield.

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 8:59 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 9:00 pm

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

Mr Martin wrote to workers telling them they will no longer be paid, saying he would only start payments again once the Government's scheme to cover 80 per cent of wages is in place.

But the firm has now performed a U-turn and says it will pay workers on Friday for the hour carried out last week.

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The founder and chairman of pub company J D Wetherspoon, Tim Martin at the Bankers Draft, Sheffield on January 8, 2019

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

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

This comes hours after 95 MPs wrote to Mr Martin expressing their concern about his treatment of staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

The letter was signed by Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP Gill Furniss, Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield, Sheffield Hallam MP Olivia Blake, Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh and Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts.

The founder and chairman of pub company J D Wetherspoon, Tim Martin at the Bankers Draft, Sheffield on January 8, 2019

Ms Blake, who coordinated the letter, and is Vice-Chair of the BFAWU Parliamentary group said: "JD Wetherspoon’s decision to let tens of thousands of workers go without money to pay their rent or feed their families is an utter disgrace. At this time of national crisis, everyone, including Tim Martin, needs to come together to put people and not profits first."

MPs said the millions of profits that Wetherspoons workers have helped create could more than the pay owed, as well as the bonuses workers are due.

Wetherspoons also said that under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), it will continue to pay a proportion of employees' pay, for those who would otherwise have been laid off during the crisis.

Details of the scheme, first announced by the Chancellor last week, are still being finalised, and the company said it had set out its best interpretation of how payments to employees will be made.

The founder and chairman of pub company J D Wetherspoon, Tim Martin at the Bankers Draft, Sheffield on January 8, 2019

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 - although an interim payment will be made on April 9, said Wetherspoon.

The Government has said it will reimburse firms 80 per cent of normal total pay to employees, up to a cap of £2,500 a month.