JD Wetherspoon head vows to keep up staff bonuses despite national living wage
The chairman and founder of pub chain JD Wetherspoon has vowed to maintain staff perks and bonuses despite having to fork out extra cash for the national living wage.
Tim Martin told the Press Association that JD Wetherspoon would keep bonuses and perks for the group's 37,000 staff because it is a "groovy company".
He said: "I'm not going to cut any perks for employees as a result of the national living wage, we're a groovy company.
"About 40% of our profits go to staff in the form of bonuses and free shares, and there are no plans for that to change."
His comments come after a string of retailers, including Eat and Caffe Nero, have come under fire for withdrawing various perks in order to fund the new wage hike.
But Mr Martin cautioned that implementation of the pay hike is still in its first stage and the living wage could still have repercussions down the line.
Only last month, JD Wetherspoon said staff pay rises had knocked profits. The firm, which runs 954 pubs, said pre-tax-profits slipped 3.9% to £36 million in the first half of the year following two pay increases.
Mr Martin, who is pro-Brexit, also said that his company would not be impacted at all if Britain voted to leave the European Union in June.
Speaking on the side lines of a Brexit debate in Mayfair, hosted by Hot Commodity, he said: "We would not be hit by Brexit, not at all.
"In terms of staff, in the last 100 pubs we've opened, we've only employed 5% of people from the EU, the rest are British-born. That's broadly replicated across the estate."
He also said that he "wouldn't send anybody home", instead favouring the status quo immigration system with the EU before introducing a points-based system.
He said: "In my vision for Brexit, I won't send anybody home. Those that already have the right to reside here, including people like Poles and Romanians, will still have the right to stay after.
"And I have no problem with the current system of immigration from the EU remaining in place after Brexit as it stands, but not any more expansion.
"I'd like to see us adopt a points-based system for people currently outside today's perimeters at some point."