Graffiti on Crystal Palace pub helps pressure JD Wetherspoon to pay staff

Photo by Kake Pugh on Flickr

Graffiti that appeared on a Crystal Palace Wetherspoons pub urging the chain to pay their staff yesterday helped force the owner into paying compensation.

Tim Martin, chairman of JD Wetherspoon, buckled under pressure from the trade union and media to pay staff this Friday for the hours worked last week. 

The media pressure began building once a Wetherspoons pub in Crystal Palace was defaced overnight after Tim Martin offered that his staff may take up part-time work at Tesco. 

Vandals scrawled the words ‘Pay your staff’ and ‘Pay up’ across the front windows of The Postal Order Wetherspoon, on Westow Street, early Wednesday morning forcing a major u-turn for the company.

The pub was vandalised following Martin’s online video address to his staff earlier this week, telling the 43,000 employees to either wait for the government funding scheme to kick in or take up new employment, after closing pubs to the public on Sunday.

“Tesco alone wants 20K people to join them— half the people at Wetherspoon,” said Martin. “If you’re offered a job at a supermarket many of you will want to do that.”

Martin further reassured that staff who choose to leave JD Wetherspoon employment for more immediate income at a supermarket will be given ‘first preference’ if they choose to return to Wetherspoons at a later time. 

The employees launched a petition to guarantee full pay to staff following Martin’s comments. The petition signatories asked Wetherspoons to pay staff immediately, while the Government funding is still coming through, and shoulder the 20 per cent to make up the funding scheme difference. 

In a statement backing the petition, Bakers Food & Allied Workers Union said: “Employees have been stripped of bonuses we had already achieved, and with no confirmation as to how the 80% of pay from the government will be calculated… It is clear that Wetherspoons hold no regard for the financial and mental wellbeing of their employees.”

Earlier this week in a comment to the Evening Standard, Eddie Gershon, Wetherspoons spokesman, said the company acknowledges the petition, however, “no one has the right to vandalise one of the company’s pubs.”

The company has said that the first payment to staff will be made this Friday, and weekly payments under the Government funding scheme will follow beginning on April 3.

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