The following amendment has been made to the 'Correction' announcement released on 16 April 2020 at 14.06pm under RNS No 9212J, the Times Newspaper Correction in Appendix 2 had a strikethrough in a passage of text;
"Article as follows:
employees, telling them that they wouldn't get paid until the end of April for work they had done and urging them to get a job with Tesco."
All other details remain unchanged. The full amended text is shown below.
It has been drawn to our attention that a financial commentator, Mark Brumby of "Langton Capital", said, in a report to his subscribers this morning:
"Post the (pubs) shutdown, the company (Wetherspoon) said it would not pay suppliers or staff. It later agreed to pay staff for the work they had already undertaken."
This is untrue. In a staff video recorded less than 48 hours after pubs closed (full transcript in appendix 1 below), and sent out on Monday 23 March, Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said:
"..all our endeavours are going to be on trying to make sure that you get your money and that the pubs reopen..".
At exactly the same time as the video an email was sent to staff which said:
"all employees will be paid as normal on Friday 27 March for all hours worked up to and including Sunday 22 March."
Wetherspoon does not agree with other comments made by Mr Brumby, but is actively seeking to correct inaccurate press comments regarding pay. As an example, The Times of London has recently published a correction on this subject (appendix 2).
Wetherspoon has consistently paid a sum equivalent to about 50% of its net profits as a bonus to staff, 88% of which is paid to pub staff. In addition, the company has over 10,000 employee shareholders, who have received free shares over many years.
Appendix 1 - MESSAGE FROM TIM - TRANSCRIPT OF VIDEO 23 MARCH 2020
I'm very sorry about the situation that's occurred with our pubs, they've been shut, as you know, unprecedented in the last 40 years and it puts everyone in a terribly difficult position. I know you're all sitting there wondering what the hell's happening. Over the weekend I've had lots of phone calls with different people and we're trying to sort it all out as best we can in this highly unusual situation.
The good news is that the government has undertaken to underwrite people's wages for an indefinite amount of time, which is great as we have no money coming in through the tills, which is not something that we ever planned for as you can appreciate. The government's promised to pay about 80% of wages, they will probably be pretty slow about paying it so there may be some delays, for which I also apologise, but I feel sure they're going to come through on their promise.
Our main aim and my main aim is to reopen. We employ over 40,000 people so it's very important for them, just as important perhaps for the country is Wetherspoon, you, thanks to you, pays 1,000th of all taxes, so it's very important to the country that we reopen. It might be weeks, it might be months, tremendous pressure on us all because of the uncertainty, apart from all the practical considerations, so all our endeavours are going to be on trying to make sure that you get your money and that the pubs reopen and I know that almost all of our trade now has gone to supermarkets, not only our trade but the trade from cafes, leisure centres, restaurants etc.
We've had lots of calls from supermarkets, Tesco alone want 20,000 people to join them, that's half the number of people who work in our pubs. If I'm being honest I say you can get the furlough payments and stay at home, if you're offered a job in a supermarket many of you will want to do that, if you think it's a good idea do it, I can completely understand it. If you've worked for us before I promise you we'll give you first preference if you want to come back. We will obviously completely understand that you don't want to wait around for us to reopen.
Deeply appreciate your work, I've just so much enjoyed talking to you in my pub calls.
Appendix 2 - TIMES NEWSPAPER CORRECTION
TIMES NEWSPAPERS LIMITED 9th Floor, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9FG Telephone: 020 7782 5970/5941 Facsimile: 020 7782 5860
Registered Office: 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF. Registration No. 894646 England Main Switchboard: 020 7782 5000
From the Legal Department
8 April 2020
Nigel Connor Solicitor Head of Legal and Company Secretary JD Wetherspoon PLC
BY EMAIL ONLY
By email: NConnor@jdwetherspoon.co.uk
Dear Mr Connor,
Celebrity Watch, 3rd April 2020
We note the contents of your message to The Times, relating to the Celebrity Watch column by Caitlin Moran on 3rd April 2020 ("the Article"), and requesting that your complaint be forwarded to the legal team. We represent Times Newspapers Limited ("TNL") the publishers of The Times.
Your complaint relates to a statement in the Article which relates to the payment of staff for work done in March. We note that the transcript for the video provided deals with the position (and pay) of staff following the closure of Wetherspoons pubs and does not deal specifically with back pay for March 2020 (i.e. it is unclear from its content whether it will be paid or not). It communicated to staff that the company would make "endeavours" in "trying to make sure that you get your money".
We also note that you have explained that staff were informed independently, by e-mail, that their pay to 22 March 2020 would be paid on 27 March 2020. This was not reflected in the video.
By way of goodwill, we are instructed that The Times will amend the online version of the
Article as follows:
employees, telling them that they wouldn't get paid until the end of April for work they had done and urging them to get a job with Tesco.
A correction will be published by The Times as follows, to reflect the information provided in your message earlier today:
We said that Tim Martin of JD Wetherspoon had informed employees by video that they would not be paid until the end of April for work they had done and urged them to get a job with Tesco (Celebrity Watch, Feb 3). We are informed by Wetherspoons that the video was concerned only with pay from March 23 onwards, after closure of the company's pubs, and that all staff wages to 22 March 2020 were paid on 27 March 2020. We are happy to correct the record.
It would not be appropriate or necessary for such correction to be made in the next print copy provided by Ms Moran. The correction above will be published in print and online on the corrections and clarifications page of The Times.
We understand that the correction above addresses your complaint and consider this matter closed.
This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact email@example.com or visit www.rns.com.