Pay rise for Wetherspoon workers amid strike ballot

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pay rise: JD Wetherspoon said the boost for staff was made in respect of sector trends (Image: Ian S, Geograph)
Pay rise: JD Wetherspoon said the boost for staff was made in respect of sector trends (Image: Ian S, Geograph)

Related tags: Jdw, Wetherspoon

JD Wetherspoon has said it will raise pay rates because of economic trends, as workers claim it was a response to a pay rise campaign.

An annual pay award has been brought forward by six months from April 2019 to November 2018.

JDW will increase rates this year by £27m, following an increase in the company's previous financial year by £20m.

A lower rate of pay for 18 to 20-year-olds has been abolished and raised to the same starting wage as over-21s, to a starting rate of £8.25 per hour.

Workers aged under 18 will be paid 50p more per hour at £5.95 per hour, and the company will now pay a night shift premium of £1 per hour.

General increases

JDW spokesman Eddie Gershon said rates of pay have come under review at most pub and restaurant companies, and rates were increasing in the economy generally.

He added: “In the last financial year, we paid record monthly bonuses and free shares of £43m, equivalent to about 50% of our net profits – 75% of this sum was paid to those who work in our pubs.

“Wetherspoon has introduced many initiatives for employees in recent decades.”

Workers at the chain argued the increases were in response to pressure from a strike ballot ​ and claimed the news as a victory.

Secret ballot

Staff at the Bright Helm and the Post & Telegraph in Brighton are voting on whether to strike over a desired £10 per hour wage, union recognition and the same wage for all ages, in a secret postal ballot.

The vote was organised with the fast-food workers campaign within the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU).

Industrial action at the pubs would mean a first in the four decades the pubco has been operational.

Post & Telegraph kitchen team leader Chris Heppell said: “If this is how they respond to two pubs just threatening to take action, imagine what we can achieve when we all come together in a union across the country.

“By taking action together, JD Wetherspoon could no longer ignore the issues of low pay and night rates.

“We’re more determined than ever to continue our fight so that Wetherspoon workers across the country get £10 an hour and the respect they deserve, that only comes through recognising our union.”

Poverty pay

Workers said the pay increase would make minimal difference and called “different pay for different ages” unfair.

BFAWU general secretary Ronnie Draper said: “The Bakers union is proud to support these workers as they take a stand against poverty pay.

“By coming together in a union, they are showing the way to tackle low pay and lack of respect across the whole hospitality sector.”

The chain added a decision for management to work a 40-hour week instead of a current 42.5 hours from April 2019 was made “several months ago”.

Related topics: JD Wetherspoon

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