JDW chair backs campaign to stop discrimination against travellers

By Claire Churchard

- Last updated on GMT

All inclusive: gypsies and travellers have protected status under the Equality Act
All inclusive: gypsies and travellers have protected status under the Equality Act

Related tags Jd wetherspoon Discrimination

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has backed a campaign to raise awareness of the discrimination travellers and gypsies face when they visit pubs, bars and restaurants.

Representatives from the Traveller Movement and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) met with the pubco’s senior management to discuss the issue.

The campaigners said that discrimination can be so bad that members of this group can feel it is necessary to hide their background despite their protected status under the Equality Act.

Discrimination blight 

Traveller Movement equality and social justice unit manager Jim Davies said: “Being refused entry or service is a problem that blights the lives of gypsy and traveller people throughout the country.

“This form of discrimination should not be tolerated in any civilised society, so it is heartening to see that an industry leader such as Wetherspoon is taking such a positive stance on the matter."

Following the meeting, Martin said: “We have been working closely with the EHRC and Traveller Movement in developing our employee training on this issue and support the campaign.”

Halo effect

Critics have previously attacked the pubco for undermining existing pubs in an area when it arrived with its value offer.

However, recent research from CGA and AlixPartners has shown that rather than driving out independents or detering multi-site operators, the opening of a Wetherspoon can have a ‘halo effect’​ attracting more people into an area to eat or drink.

CGA vice-president Peter Martin said: “It’s sometimes argued that JD Wetherspoon has a damaging effect on the towns and cities where it opens new pubs, but our latest Market Growth Monitor indicates this often isn’t the case.

“There is no doubt that Wetherspoon’s value proposition brings challenges for nearby drink-led pubs and bars, but for well-differentiated food-led offers, the impact can be more positive or neutral. People continue to eat and drink out, and there is clearly room for a huge diversity of multi-site brands and independents to succeed.”

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