Fury at Wetherspoon’s boss Tim Martin and Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley over their reaction to coronavirus lockdown
Two of Britain’s best known bosses have caused uproar over their reaction to the coronavirus lockdown.
Tim Martin, the founder of Wetherspoon’s, said he would not pay his 43,000 staff for five weeks while his pubs were shut.
And Mike Ashley, chief executive of Sports Direct owner Frasers Group, was forced into an embarrassing U-turn on his decision to keep stores open after the Government intervened.
Tim Martin, the founder of Wetherspoon’s, said he would not pay his 43,000 staff for five weeks while his pubs were shut
He had tried to argue that his stores, known for their trainers and cheap tracksuits, were selling ‘essential’ items – exercise equipment.
The ‘essential’ category is reserved for items such as food and medicine.
The rows came days after Sir Richard Branson and Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou were criticised for receiving huge dividends while chasing a Government bailout for airlines.
Last week Sir Philip Green laid off staff who were within their probation period as his firm Arcadia closed all its UK stores.
Experts said failing to act responsibly could lead to a regulatory backlash when the crisis was over.
Luke Hildyard, of the High Pay Centre, said: ‘This is the unacceptable face of capitalism rearing its head at the time of a national crisis.’
Tory MP Robert Halfon said: ‘The coronavirus is showing some bosses at their worst.’