Anti-Brexit Wetherspoon staff turn on their no-deal-backing boss

PUBLISHED: 14:03 30 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:14 04 February 2019

Tim Martin on BBC Question Time. Photograph: BBC.

Tim Martin on BBC Question Time. Photograph: BBC.

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Wetherspoon staff who oppose Brexit have launched a "crusade" against their no-deal-championing boss - including refusing to distribute his propaganda.

A campaign group, Spoons Workers Against Brexit, has been launched with a manifesto including a living wage, trade union recognition and a refusal to be used by boss Tim Martin to champion a no-deal exit from the EU.

The group, initially active on Facebook and Twitter, have said they will “no longer be marked down for refusing to distribute beer mats, leaflets, magazines or menus that promote Martin’s politics”.

One of the more vocal Brexiteers in the business world, Martin has described Brexit as a “new Magna Carta”.

Prior to the referendum he frequently blamed the EU for tax rises which in actual fact had nothing to do with the EU, and now uses his position to campaign for the hardest of Brexits.

But Spoons Workers for Brexit say they are no longer prepared to foist their boss’ Pravda-like magazines on customers who had only popped in for a pre-10am livener.

Their launch statement says: “We are Wetherspoon workers and supporters who are disgusted by the way that the company’s founder and chairman, Tim Martin, is exploiting his position to promote an extremely damaging no-deal Brexit through pubs up and down the country.

“He routinely labels Remain supporters the ‘metropolitan elite’ yet he himself is an incredibly wealthy man, accruing a tidy net wealth of almost £500,000,000 in no small part by paying his staff poverty wages.”

Last year’s Sunday Times Rich List estimated Martin’s wealth at £448m.

The statement adds: “To add insult, he forces staff members to distribute propaganda in favour of a hard Brexit – something which would drive down our working conditions and living standards even further.

“We refuse to propagandise for politics that will only do us harm if enacted. Studies have consistently refuted claims that immigration is linked to low wages. Migrants don’t drive down wages; but wealthy, exploitative bosses like Tim Martin do.

“We are opposed to Brexit in its entirety and we support allowing the free movement of people so that everyone, regardless of nationality, has the right to live and work here.”

Spoons Workers Against Brexit has already gained thousands of followers on Facebook and Twitter with workers and ex-staff supporting a petition for Martin to remove his anti-EU propaganda from his pubs.

In addition the group is demanding to be paid the Living Wage (£9 an hour outside London and £10.55 an hour in London) and trade union recognition, granting the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union negotiating powers over pay and pay and working conditions.

Martin is currently on a tour of his pubs lecturing on the benefits of a no-deal Brexit to daytime drinkers waiting for the weigh-in for the 2.55 at Kempton.

A JD Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “They are entitled to their views. It should be noted that if a member of staff does not wish to put out the magazines, then they don’t have to.

“We have no issue with that. The magazine is more than 100 pages in total and the Brexit pages comprise a small number of those.

“Wetherspoon News offers articles for and against Brexit.”

Last year Martin announced he was banning booze produced in the EU, saying that selling drinks from Britain and across the world could give British customers access to “superior” products.

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