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Norwich MP joins call to JD Wetherspoon to pay its workers during pandemic

PUBLISHED: 17:53 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:53 25 March 2020

Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoons, at The Bell Hotel in Norwich during his pro-Brexit tour. Picture: Archant

Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoons, at The Bell Hotel in Norwich during his pro-Brexit tour. Picture: Archant

Archant

A Norwich MP has added his signature to a letter calling for pub chain JD Wetherspoon to pay its staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

Clive Lewis has called on Wetherspoons to pay its staff during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: ArchantClive Lewis has called on Wetherspoons to pay its staff during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Archant

A letter from MPs around the country to pub chain boss Tim Martin, which has been signed by Clive Lewis, Norwich South’s MP, has called on the multimillionaire to pay his workers as pubs and restaurants are closed by government.

It said: “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.”

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It comes as Wetherspoon says it has put in motion its own proposed rules with the government and UK Hospitality to create a payment plan.

Workers have been told to work from home, with those unable to having employment postponed. The government has announced a package of measures for employers, including paying up to 80pc of wages if a critera is met.

Mr Martin said the payment issue has been complex and the company has been working to find a solution with the government.

In a statement, he 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 Friday, April 3, subject to government approval, and weekly thereafter.”

Mr Lewis added: “Wetherspoons has thousands of low-paid employees working part-time who have been hit by this irresponsible and callous decision.

“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.”


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