For immediate release
7 May 2020
JD Wetherspoon plc ("the company")
Correction - Forbes
Articles published online by the business magazine Forbes, on 27 March and 3 May 2020, made a number of factually incorrect statements regarding the company. It was alleged that the company told the "workforce that not only would they not be paid, but they can trot off to get a job in a supermarket".
As regards pay, a company video, recorded on Sunday 22 March (transcript below, appendix 1), actually said, "all our endeavours are going to be on trying to make sure that you get your money and that the pubs reopen".
An email, sent out with the video, said: "All hourly paid employees will be paid as normal on Friday 27 March for all hours worked up to, and including, Sunday 22 March 2020."
Staff were paid on that Friday and have been paid on every Friday since.
The statement in Forbes that staff were told they could "trot off to get a job in a supermarket" is misleading.
The video actually said "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 promise you, we'll give you first preference if you want to come back."
Furloughed pub and restaurant staff are legally allowed to receive extra income if they work for supermarkets as well.
Forbes also said that the company "announced that... pubs WILL (Wetherspoon capitals) open sometime in June." That is also incorrect.
In a stock exchange announcement on 29 April, Wetherspoon said: "the company's current assumptions are that its pubs will remain closed until late June 2020".
The assumptions related to the modelling of two financial "scenarios", for the benefit of investors, which necessitated an estimated opening date.
The date was only an estimate and the company made clear that it would only open when permitted by the government.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. J D Wetherspoon owns and operates pubs throughout the UK and Ireland. The company aims to provide customers with good-quality food and drink, served by well-trained and friendly staff, at reasonable prices. The pubs are individually designed and the company aims to maintain them in excellent condition.
2. Visit our website www.jdwetherspoon.com.
3. The annual report and financial statements 2019 has been published on the company's website on 13 September 2019.
4. The current financial year comprises 52 trading weeks to 26 July 2020.
Transcript of video by Mr Tim Martin - 22 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.
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