JDW asks suppliers for payment break

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

On halt: JDW has asked suppliers if it can pay them once its pubs have reopened
On halt: JDW has asked suppliers if it can pay them once its pubs have reopened

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Pub behemoth JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has asked suppliers via email for a moratorium on payments until its pubs reopen, at which point it intends to clear outstanding payments within a short time-frame.

The email, which was seen by sustainability publication Footprint ​and was signed by JDW chairman Tim Martin, also said the business understood this puts significant pressure its suppliers but it called for their assistance during this period.

A spokesperson for the business said JDW confirmed it had written to suppliers saying that, in extraordinary times, it is asking suppliers to assist by waiting for payment until the pubs reopen so the company can carry on.

It added many of the suppliers have been serving JDW for 30 years and the company wants to carry on that relationship for another three decades.

It has given suppliers contact numbers to call to discuss further and it will aim to help out wherever possible.

CAMRA chief executive Tom Stainer said: “This unprecedented crisis has been devastating for the entire pub and brewing industry but what has been particularly pleasing is the positive way most have pulled together to offer mutual support.

“We’d call on all in the industry, especially the larger companies such as JDW, which may be better placed to survive this crisis, to do all it can to help out the suppliers who could be facing permanent closure if payments due are withheld.”

Under fire

This comes after the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union lambasted the pub group​ for saying it would attempt to use the Government’s furlough scheme – which pays up to 80% of employees’ wages up to £2,500 a month – instead of continuing to pay staff as usual. JDW said its communication to staff had been misinterpreted by the press and the union.

JDW announced (Wednesday 25 March) that after discussions with UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, substantial progress had been made in the introduction of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The pub group drew up its own proposed rules as to how the scheme would work and submitted them to the Government for approval.

On the basis the Government approves the rules – and subject to confirmation – the reimbursement will be implemented by the end of April, JDW will introduced the scheme immediately.

New scheme

The pub group has already committed to pay all employees this Friday (27 March) for the hours worked last week.

Martin said: “As we have already confirmed, JDW 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 3 April, subject to Government approval, and weekly thereafter.

“Many thanks to Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality and the Government for their great efforts in dealing with the logistical issues involved in introducing a complex scheme so quickly.”

Related topics: JD Wetherspoon

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