Wetherspoon boss defends zero-hours after profits leap to £77m

 

The chairman of the pubs group Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, defended the group’s use of controversial zero-hours contracts yesterday, claiming that increased regulation would put up the price of a pint.

The employment practice, where employees are only paid for hours worked, has been in the spotlight after Labour pledged a crackdown on the contracts. Wetherspoon has around 24,000 staff employed on these terms across its pubs.

Mr Martin said: “[Zero-hours contracts] have been less of an issue in pubs than in the political sphere. It started off with people on flexible contracts who were not getting holiday pay, sick pay, maternity pay, but at Wetherspoons they receive all of those things and they are eligible for free shares and bonuses.

“In a trade like pubs it would probably push up the price of a pint if there was regulation… A third of the price of a pint is in wages now compared with 5 per cent in a supermarket. Most people will get the hours they want in reality.”

Wetherspoon is paying out £28.6m in free shares and bonuses after record results. Of this around 83 per cent, or £23.7m, is paid to pub staff, with pub managers taking just over half and the remainder split between the zero-hours staff.

Despite a beer duty cut in March’s Budget, Mr Martin’s tax bill rose by more than £32m in the year to 28 July and he is cranking up his campaign for VAT parity with supermarkets.

Mr Martin is supporting campaigner Jacques Borel’s VAT Club on Tax Parity Day although the Government estimates cutting VAT to 5 per cent for the hospitality sector could cost the Treasury more than £11bn.

The group posted forecast-beating pre-tax profits of £76.9m with sales at pubs open more than a year up 3.6 per cent in the six weeks to 8 September. The shares, up nearly 40 per cent since the start of the year, ended up 17p at 752p.

James Hollins, an analyst at Investec, said: “Wetherspoon remains the stand-out quality pub operator in the sector.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Travel
Streets ahead: Venice
travelWhat's trending on your wishlist?
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect