Zero-hours JD Wetherspoon staff scoop £22m

JD Wetherspoon kitchen and bar workers reap rewards of cheap-drinking boom in downturn

Tim Martin will hand over a £22m bonus pot to more than 20,000 kitchen and bar staff on zero hours contracts at his cut-price JD Wetherspoon pubs empire this week.

Wetherspoon has boomed during the downturn due to its range of low-cost but well-regarded regional ales, like Ringwood 49er and Highland Scapa Special.

The fast-growing chain, chaired and founded by the notoriously Eurosceptic Mr Martin, is expected to hand out nearly 90 per cent of its £25m of share and cash bonuses to employees.

The average £1,000-plus bonus will be a welcome boost to the thousands of staff who are on little more than the £6.09 minimum wage, while many 18-20-year-old employees earn less than £6 an hour.

It was revealed in August that close to 80 per cent of the cheap-ale pub chain's 30,000 employees are on controversial zero-hour contracts. The employment contracts were criticised for not having guaranteed hours or a schedule, but zero-hour employees who meet certain criteria will have access to the scheme.

Workers who have been at the company for more than 18 months are offered free shares in the business, as part of an incentive plan. Employees are also entitled to a bonus of between 19 per cent and 50 per cent of their pay, depending on their job title.

Over the past five years the chain of nearly 900 UK pubs has paid out approximately a third of its pre-tax profit to employees in the form of bonuses and free shares. Last year, these amounted to £24.1m, "85 per cent of which was paid to employees working in our pubs", according to Wetherspoon's full-year report.

Last year, £5.7m was paid out in free shares. Market analysts suggest that for this "very strong year" the figure will have risen to between £6m and £7m, as the chain expected to post record profit of £76m before tax.

In a 2012 interview, founder and chairman, Mr Martin, said he believed these incentive schemes were part of the reason that "our pub managers have been with us for an average of nine years".

Early this year, Mr Martin, who is known to be partial to Leffe Blonde and Doom Bar, announced plans to open pubs in service stations, starting on the M40. Though the plans were criticised by many, Mr Martin saw it as the start of a new area of business for his chain, saying: "Hopefully it will be the first of many Wetherspoons on the motorway."

Wetherspoon's first-half profit was £34.8m, off a revenue of £626.4m.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
cricketBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
News
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing