This morning on Twitter #BoycottWeatherspoons trended across the United Kingdom.
Despite the misspelling, it remained trending throughout the day. The nations biggest pub chain has received a barrage of negative social media coverage during the Coronavirus epidemic, which came to a head last night as staff members leaked an update regarding employee pay from the company.
It revealed that J.D. Wetherspoon will not be paying its employees whilst furloughed (shut due to government action) until the government grant cleared into their account, which “could be until the end of April.”
A letter signed by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) emerged online demanding full pay.
The letter goes on to compare Wetherspoon to Costa and other food and drinks companies who have promised their staff eight weeks fully paid, regardless of when the government grant arrives.
The letter quickly spread around Twitter, shared by thousands of people.
So Tim Martin has now stopped paying his staff . Meaning many people will have no money for food or rent. This is no way to treat people in a national emergency. Guys please remember these companies and make them pay when this is over by boycotting #boycottweatherspoons pic.twitter.com/MlmnV7fV6c— Nick (@Nclarke30) March 24, 2020
Wetherspoon Chairman Tim Martin, who is worth an estimated £448 million, said that the company could not afford to pay staff wages until receiving government funding.
He said Wetherspoon could not afford to keep paying staff.
“Companies like Costa, owned by Coca-Cola, and McDonald’s, being owned by large multinationals, can afford to retain staff and commit to paying them, before details of the government furlough scheme are published,” he explained.
“However, they are in a minority in the pub and restaurant trade. Most companies, including Wetherspoon, do not have the resources, while pubs are shut, to make this commitment and need to see details of the scheme in order to retain and pay staff, as the government has sensibly requested, rather than instigating large-scale layoffs.
“That may seem stark, but that’s the economic reality of the unprecedented situation in the UK today.”
He also told staff to look for work at Tesco.
Wetherspoon employees around 40,000 people across the United Kingdom.
Ian Hodson, the president of the Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union, said: “Tim Martin’s actions are shocking. He is ignoring the advice of the government to stand by your workers and instead abandoning them in their time of need.
“They need to pay rent, buy food and because of the low wages he’s always paid them will not have savings to depend upon. His selfish approach says unless the government puts money into my bank account today he’ll let the workers who have made him rich suffer. It is completely unacceptable.”
Just last week, Mr. Martin branded Government advice to not go to the pub or gather in large groups “over the top.”
His pubs did not shut until the Government enforced the new rules.
People on Twitter have been advising patrons to avoid Wetherspoon pubs when the lockdown on socialising is lifted.
Just seen #boycottweatherspoons trending on Twitter… 40,000 Weatherspoons staff laid off with no pay for 8 weeks by a company led by a man with a £300,000+ salary, who told them to go and work at Tesco… what a heartless *insert rude word here*— Nikki Kopelman (@Nikki_BonMot) March 24, 2020
When this all blows over, remember the four guys that left Britain out to dry, and make sensible decision about which establishments you'll spend your hard earned money in.#boycottweatherspoons pic.twitter.com/oTRWy4JSPL— TIM (@workbit_tim) March 24, 2020
Neither Tim Martin nor J.D Wetherspoon have commented on the hashtag.
Featured image credit: UnSplash/Wetherspoon