Announced at 10am on Friday 12 January, Unite Hospitality urged the operator and brewer to “reverse this awful decision and do the right thing by the workers who have made the company's millions”.
Launched via Megaphone.org, the petition said: “BrewDog's decision to withdraw the RLW for bar workers during the most acute cost of living crisis in a generation is outrageous.
“The RLW has been a cornerstone of BrewDog’s public identity since 2014. Scrapping the company's pledge is a shocking blow for bar workers.”
The petition had received more than 10,000 signatures at the time of publication.
At 10am we launched a national petition via @MegaphoneUK calling on @BrewDog to reverse its decision to abandon the real living wage.— Unite Hospitality (@FairHospitality) January 12, 2024
In the time it took us to post about this, 3600 people have supported it. In 24 minutes.
This is going to be massive! pic.twitter.com/LFlAVScdig
A letter sent to employees and published by trade union Unite Hospitality, said “hard decisions” had to be taken to maintain financial stability despite a “bumper” festive season.
BrewDog co-founder James Watt explained on social media that hospitality is going through its “toughest period in living memory” and while investing in people was “at the core” of everything BrewDog does, it “could not implement” the 10% RLW rise announced by the Government as part of the Autumn Budget in November last year.
Investing in people
The Aberdeenshire-based brewer said staff would now be hired at the statutory minimum wage rate, which stands at £10.42 an hour, rather than the higher rates set by the Living Wage Foundation that are currently paid. Existing staff will be unaffected by the move.
Watt continued: “It is important to note nobody’s wages are going down and what we announced is actually a pay increase [for] most of our people: our staff outside London will be getting a 4.95% increase in base pay, and crew currently working in London will be paid 4.5% above the National Living Wage.
“We remain fully committed to investing in our people, putting together packages which are well ahead of our competitors whilst doing all we can to drive exceptional customer experiences and long-term shareholder value for our community of over 220,000 Equity Punks.”