People are pledging to boycott Wetherspoons when pubs reopen because of how its owner Tim Martin allegedly treated his staff during lockdown.
Martin was infamously quoted telling 43,000 Wetherspoons employees that they would not be paid until the beginning of the government furlough scheme, instead suggesting they get a job at a supermarket.
He later reversed this decision after an enormous backlash, thankfully.
Martin also thought that customers should continue to visit his pubs in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, saying back in late March that "our aim is for pubs to open for the duration" of lockdown.
There's hardly been any transmission of the virus within pubs and I think it's over the top to shut them.
The eccentric multi-millionaire is perhaps best known for his staunch support of Brexit. Following years of outspoken support for Vote Leave, Martin publicly backed the Brexit Party at the 2019 general election.
Although it failed to win any seats, he was likely pretty happy with the Conservative landslide: his business reportedly jumped up nearly 10 percent in value.
But people are insisting his anti-EU politics aren't the reason for the #neverspoons boycott, instead pointing to his "appalling" handling of the pandemic.
But not everyone supports the boycott, arguing that it will actually hit staff the hardest.
Whether boycotting Wetherspoons or supporting strikes, many people have clearly not forgotten Martin's remarks in the early and uncertain days of the pandemic.
And with coronavirus still very much an active threat, this is just one more reason for people to swerve their "patriotic duty" by avoiding the local 'spoons.
Update, 21 August 2020:
A representative of Wetherspoons contacted us following publication of this Article to say that at no time did Mr Martin tell employees that Wetherspoons would not continue to pay them. It is accepted that all staff were paid by Wetherspoons up until the point of pub closures, after which staff received furlough pay.
In addition, we are happy to clarify that Mr Martin did not direct staff that they “should work at Tesco instead”. The actual words Mr Martin used to staff were: “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 you’re offered a job in a supermarket many of you will want to do that, if you think it’s a good idea to do it, I can completely understand it.”
Mr Martin’s comments in relation to pubs remaining open were made prior to the Government mandated lockdown and Wetherspoons closed its pubs once the Government ordered them to do so. We apologise for any misunderstanding.