Wetherspoons responds to Brighton workers strike ballot by bringing pay award forward.

  • JD Wetherspoons brings forward annual pay award from April 2019 to November 2018
  • Workers at two Brighton pubs are balloting for strike action
  • Union members have been sharing the impact of poverty wages with the media
  • Local MP Caroline Lucas MP has offered her support.

Last night, in a sign JD Wetherspoons is worried about the impact workers going on strike will have on their business, they told staff they are bringing forward their annual pay rise. Workers at “The Bright Helm”, and “The Post & Telegraph” are being be balloted about striking for £10 an hour and union recognition. Workers have been sharing stories of poverty pay with the media, and won support from local politician Caroline Lucas MP.

Responding to the pay rise, Chris Heppell, 29, Kitchen Team Leader, at the Post & Telegraph, said:

“When you’re struggling to get by every penny counts. 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 Wetherspoons could no longer ignore the issues of low pay and night rates. We’re more determined than ever to continue our fight so that Wetherspoons workers across the country get £10 / hour and the respect they deserve, that only comes through recognising our union.”

chrisheppel - quote

Katie Southworth, 22, Team Leader, the Bright Helm in Brighton said:

“By announcing our ballot for strike action calling for £10 an hour and union recognition we’ve  made the company look at its poverty wages and the unfairness of age related pay bands.Wetherspoons has now finally acknowledged that it’s current wages needed to rise. Their increase is small and been presented as simple generosity. We know this is not the case. By bringing the pay award forward to November Wetherspoons has highlighted the power that we have when we working together in a union. By unionising and threatening to strike we are already making small positive steps towards a better future for all workers. We will continue until we win £10 an hour and a union for all Wetherspoons workers”

Jesse Enfield, 28, kitchen manager – Post & Telegraph said:

“It’s going to make too little difference to workers in their day-to day-lives. It’s still different pay for different ages. That’s unfair. Young workers are doing the same work and yet getting paid far less for it. We’re determined to continue until we get £10 an hour,  ‘all ages – same wages’ and a union“

Ronnie Draper,  General Secretary,  BFAWU, 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.”

Wetherspoons workers joined the BFAWU after being inspired by the McStrike. McDonald’s workers won the largest pay rise for a decade in January 2018 after taking strike action for the first time in September 2017.

JD wetherspoons has increased the rate they pay to under 18s by 50p to £5.95, abolished a lower rate of pay for 18-20 year olds raising the starting rate to £8:25 an hour and agreeing to pay a night shift premium of £1/hr.

Workers at the Bright Helm pub had already won a suspension of over-night shifts, with promises a pay-rise would be forthcoming.

Notes to editors:

  • For further information or to organise interviews with McDonald’s workers please contact Owen Espley – Mobile: +44 (0)7861 362 797  / oespley[@]waronwant.org
  • The McStrike and Fast Food Rights campaign are spearheaded by The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU). They aim to ensure fast food workers have the right to a fair wage and decent working conditions across the country.
  • The BFAWU is the largest independent trade union in the food sector in the British Isles. It works to ensure that employees are secure and safe in their workplace – and that they are paid an equitable wage for the work they do.
  • Caroline Lucas MP met with Brighton Wetherspoons workers on Friday 7 September and voiced her support. See here: https://www.carolinelucas.com/latest/meeting-local-jd-wetherspoon-staff-to-hear-about-pay-and-conditions


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