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Wetherspoon’s Could Raise Drinks Prices To Cover Higher Wages



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Tim Martin 

Wetherspoon’s customers could see a rise in drinks prices as the chain attempts to cover some of the costs of higher wages, boss Tim Martin has said.

Martin made the admission in a trading update published on Wednesday morning, which also reveals that the company has seen a 6.2% sales increase in the last quarter.

But in September, Wetherspoons announced that it would be moving its annual pay award forward by six months and as of this month, they have begun paying all staff over 18 a starting rate of £8.35 per hour, with a £1 per hour premium for overnight shifts.

Addressing the additional costs this will lead to, Martin wrote in the update: “Having had several recent years of record profits, we are not immediately seeking to recoup these increased costs through higher pricing or ‘mitigation’, but will review that during the year.”

Martin also used the update to warn shareholders that Wetherspoon’s expects its year-on-year profits to drop.

“It is difficult to be too precise at this early stage of the current financial year, but we now expect a trading outcome slightly below that achieved in the previous financial year,” he said.

The change to the pay award date came following a threat of industrial action from staff in the chain’s two Brighton branches, who in September mounted a campaign for union recognition and a pay rise to £10 per hour.

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Wetherspoons staff from two pubs went on strike last month 

After balloting union members, bar and kitchen workers from the Bright Helm and Post And Telegraph pubs went on strike in October.

The walk-out marked the first time in Wetherspoon’s history that its workers have taken part in industrial action and one worker told HuffPost UK that the staff were sick of “doing a physically and emotionally exhausting job, for wages most of us can just survive on″.

“I’m paying extortionate rents for squalid, shared accommodation and it’s a job that’s physically and emotionally exhausting,” Chris Heppell, 29, said.

“Anyone who has worked in hospitality will know it’s a demanding job to do and we get very little from a company that makes millions from our hard work.”

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