Pub chain chairman commits to bonuses

FOUNDER of pub chain JD Wetherspoon Tim Martin has vowed to maintain staff perks and bonuses despite having to fork out extra cash for the national living wage.

Thursday, 28th April 2016, 5:51 am
27/4/2016 (KB) An employment Open Day was held at The Isambard Brunel Kingdom pub in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth on Wednesday. Pictured is: Grant Hardy (32) from Waterlooville, filling in an application form at the pub. Picture: Sarah Standing (160647-5269)

Mr Martin, who is also the chairman of the pub chain, said JD Wetherspoon would keep bonuses and perks for the group’s 37,000 staff because it is a ‘groovy company’.

He said: ‘I’m not going to cut any perks for employees as a result of the national living wage, we’re a groovy company.

‘About 40 per cent of our profits go to staff in the form of bonuses and free shares, and there are no plans for that to change.’

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His comments come after a string of retailers, including Eat and Caffe Nero, have come under fire for withdrawing various perks in order to fund the new wage hike.

But Mr Martin cautioned that the implementation of the pay hike is still in its first stage and the living wage could still have repercussions down the line.

Only last month, JD Wetherspoon said staff pay rises had knocked profits. The firm, which runs 954 pubs, said pre-tax-profits slipped 3.9 per cent to £36m in the first half of the year following two pay increases.

Mr Martin, who is pro-Brexit, also said that his company would not be affected at all if Britain voted to leave the European Union in June.

He said: ‘We would not be hit by Brexit, not at all.

‘In terms of staff, in the last 100 pubs we’ve opened, we’ve only employed five per cent of people from the EU, the rest are British-born. That’s broadly replicated across the estate.’

He also said that he ‘wouldn’t send anybody home’, instead favouring the status quo immigration system with the EU before introducing a points-based system.

He said: ‘In my vision for Brexit, I won’t send anybody home. Those that already have the right to reside here, including people like Poles and Romanians, will still have the right to stay after.

‘And I have no problem with the current system of immigration from the EU remaining in place after Brexit as it stands, but not any more expansion.

‘I’d like to see us adopt a points-based system for people currently outside today’s perimeters at some point.’

Meanwhile in Portsmouth, the pub chain is on the hunt for 50 new employees to work at its 10 outlets across the area.

An employment open day was held at The Isambard Kingdom Brunel pub, in Guildhall Walk, yesterday.

There are full and part-time roles on offer at the pubs, for bar and kitchen associates (over 18s), floor associate roles for 17-year-olds, as well as some managerial vacancies, for applicants with management experience.

Wetherspoon offers guaranteed minimum hours contacts for staff.

Emma Carrodus, pub manager at The First Post in Cosham, said: ‘We have many jobs available across our pubs in the area, due to increased sales and customer demand.

‘The jobs are for local people to work with us and to help continue the success of our community pubs.’

Wetherspoon runs The Isambard Kingdom Brunel in Guildhall Walk, The John Jacques in Fratton Road, The Sir John Baker in London Road, North End and the Trafalgar in London Road, all in Portsmouth, together with the Sir Alec Rose in The Boardwalk, Port Solent, The First Post in High Street, Cosham, The Star in High Street, Gosport, The Parchment Makers in Park Road North, Havant, The Lord Palmerston in Palmerston Road, Southsea and The Denmead Queen in London Road, Waterlooville.