Wetherspoons staff have slammed founder Tim Martin for an “absolutely outrageous” video he sent to all employees on Monday.
Wetherspoons has nearly 900 pubs in the UK – all of which closed on Friday after the Government ordered pubs and restaurants to shut until further notice.
Mr Martin’s video told staff they would be paid for their work until Friday – but wouldn’t get any more money until Government grants covering 80 per cent of workers’ pay kicked in.
He added that the company’s bonus scheme, due to pay out on Friday, would be paused until pubs reopened.
Many Wetherspoons staff were unhappy with Mr Martin’s comments, describing them as “insulting” and “a slap in the face”.
“It’s absolutely outrageous,” one anonymous student who worked part-time for Wetherspoons said.
They added: “The thing with Tim Martin is that bad press doesn’t make him change his tune as he knows that people will always go to Wetherspoons because of the low prices.
“I do think though that people need to see that he has contacted his staff and not once mentioned staying safe or our health.”
Mr Martin also advised staff to look for work elsewhere.
The student went on: “The consensus is that it’s just a big slap in the face and that he’s acting like it’s a hard time for him whilst he’s sitting on millions of pounds and the majority of us are struggling as we are weekly paid.
“So to be told that basically we have to wait until the end of April to see any money, when he could very easily cover our wages until then at the very least, is so insulting.”
Full-time worker Sharon, 23, who is pregnant with her second child and has heart problems and asthma, said it would be very hard for her to find a new job.
She added: “Without my regular weekly pay, it’ll be almost impossible to keep my house going.
“It also stops me preparing for a new baby, which is a massive stress as it is, as I’ve had a lot of health problems during my pregnancy.
“I now have to work out what to do to fund for myself and my child.”
Mr Martin’s video also came in for criticism from MP Rachel Reeves and the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU).
Wetherspoons spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “Wetherspoon sent a video by the chairman Tim Martin, a letter from chief executive John Hutson and other information to all employees.
“In those communications it made clear that all employees would get paid this Friday for all work carried out until the pubs shut.
“After that, the company would utilise the Government ‘furlough’ scheme, which pays 80 per cent of wages, details of which are in the course of being finalised between licensed trade representatives and the Government at the present time.
“As we understand it, tens of thousands of hospitality workers and others have already lost their jobs, but Wetherspoon is retaining all its employees, using the Government scheme for the purpose for which it is intended.”
The news comes as sports equipment chain Sports Direct performed a U-turn on staying open amid Britain’s lockdown for all but essential businesses, amid accusations of greed.
Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery and shop workers’ trade union Usdaw were among the critics.
Sports Direct later said its stores would remain closed “until we are given the go-ahead by the government”.