July 01, 2020
When Wetherspoon’s boss Tim Martin told staff in a video at the start of lockdown that they would not be paid and should “go work at Tesco”, it sparked a huge backlash.
Wetherspoons Staff Want You To Think Twice Before Boycotting Chain When Pubs Reopen
Unions, staff, MPs and the public all hit out at the chain and within days the decision had been reversed.The weather spoons in Crystal Palace with a clear message for That gobshite Tim Martin to pay his staff, please do the right thing and support your staff otherwise we won’t forget #Wetherspoon#CoronavirusLockdownUKpic.twitter.com/J5JGR6hXEe— mick kelly (@redk10) March 25, 2020But a larger movement began, calling for a total boycott of all JD Wetherspoon pubs due to the owner’s initial treatment of staff.
This Saturday marks the first time the #BoycottWetherspoons movement has a chance to flex its might in the real world and there’s every indication it still has momentum – campaigners last week launched the #NeverSpoons hashtag.Support local bars and pubs when they eventually open. Support living wage employers. I know the cheap booze is tempting, but have a hard think about where your money is going. #wetherspoons#neverspoons— Robbie (@ozjambo51) June 23, 2020It can open up whenever it likes, I’m never going to a Wetherspoons again. #NeverSpoons— Cathy Murphy (@MrsMurphySoton) June 23, 2020One group against a boycott, however, are those with more to lose than anyone – the Wetherspoon’s staff, and their union.
Lee*, a member of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU), told HuffPost UK: “I love the energy behind [the public’s protest] and the fact they’re willing to help us.
“But a boycott is going to negatively affect the staff long before it affects the people at the top. Each pub gets a certain amount of hours we can use to maximise our profit. Less sales means we get less hours.
“I can’t tell the public where they should and shouldn’t spend their money but I just hope they understand the effect it’s going to have. Whether they like Tim Martin or not, a boycott isn’t going to affect him straight away.”
Instead of not spending their money at a Spoons, unionised staff at the pub chain are instead asking the public to make their voices heard in ways that can still make an impact on the millionaire owner while not negatively affecting its thousands of staff.
“We’re asking to support us in other ways such as signing our petition which is demanding a safer work environment for us to go back to, and encouraging staff to join our campaign and union,” says Lee.With all the talk of reopening please remember..‼️UNIONISED WETHERSPOONS WORKERS DO NOT SUPPORT A BOYCOTT‼️Boycotting will cause hours cuts and loss of earnings. You can show support by;- Sharing our posts- Respecting picket lines- Encouraging workers to unionise— SpoonStrike (@SpoonStrike) June 23, 2020They are demanding a number of changes that go far beyond just being paid properly and on time.Lee said the potential boycott couldn’t come at a worse time for Wetherspoon’s staff who have been on furlough and receiving only 80% of their regular wages.
“I personally would lose a lot more hours and it would put a stress on my pub as a whole,” she said.
“I’m already struggling with my rent and paying back my debts. So if I was to start earning even less then I would have to default on my debt.”
Asked if she had a personal message for Martin, Lee said: “It should always be staff before profits.”Related... What Your Post-Lockdown Pub Trip Might Look Like from July A Ranked List Of All Our Lockdown Activities – From Best To Worst
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