Staff at two Wetherspoon pubs in Brighton are to hold a ballot calling for industrial action over grievances regarding pay and union recognition. The pub chain has confirmed that the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union has given them notice of the intention to ballot for industrial action.
Ian Hodson President BFAWU said: “Workers at JD Wetherspoon do a hard job. They work long, often anti-social, hours ensuring customers can enjoy their food and drink. JD Wetherspoon depends on its workers to make its large profits; the least those workers deserve is a living wage of £10 an hour to ensure they can afford the basic things in life.”
Kitchen Team leader Chris Heppell, 29, who works at the Post and Telegraph, said: “I’ve worked at Wetherspoons for four and a half years.I’ve struggled to survive on poverty wages and I have seen my colleagues battle to make ends meet. I get paid £8.65 an hour. Many of us are in debt. Some live in hostels because they can’t afford a deposit.We’ve had enough of being underpaid and undervalued.”
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said “we can confirm that Wetherspoon has received notice that the Bakers Food and Alliance Workers Union (BFAWU) intends to hold a ballot for industrial action in two Wetherspoon pubs in Brighton, the Bright Helm and The Post & Telegraph. No complaint has been made directly to the company by employees at either pub, or by the trade union in advance of receiving this ballot. The matter has now been raised with the area manager. He visit the pub at least weekly and will investigate the matter further”.
We have reviewed the rates of pay in both pubs. The minimum starting rate for bar associates (aged over 18 years) is £8.05/hour and for kitchen associates (aged over 18 years) it is £8.25.
“These rates increase to £8.15 (bar) and £8.35 (kitchen) after completing their probation period. These are the minimum rates employees receive, and those with longer service receive higher amounts than this. The rates are above the minimum wage. In addition, on average, employees at the Bright Helm received an additional 3.4% in bonus pay over the last 12 months and employees at the Post & Telegraph received an additional 6.5% in bonus pay.”
He added: “Employees with more than 18 months service with the company are entitled to receive free shares in the company each year, equivalent to 5% of their gross earnings, at no cost to themselves. In addition, employees receive a 50% discount on food and drink whilst at work, and a 20% discount off duty including food, drink and hotel accommodation for themselves and up to guests.
“We are keen to provide good working conditions for all employees.
“We are disappointed that we were not approached directly by these employees but, as always, we are keen to listen to what the people in our pubs have to say.”