Wetherspoons founder Tim Martin has told his staff to look for supermarket jobs after the pub chain was forced to close its doors due to coronavirus.
Some 40,000 workers employed by the company have been told they could face pay delays after Boris Johnson ordered the closure of social spaces in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19.
In a video message to staff, Mr Martin suggested they could find employment at supermarkets while his pubs remain shut, claiming that Tesco wants 20,000 more workers to meet growing demand.
He said the group will pay employees for all work done until the pubs last opened on March 22.
However, it will not make any further payments until the government fulfils its promise to cover 80 per cent of the wages of workers affected by the shutdown.
The founder said: “I’m very sorry about the situation that’s occurred with our pubs.
“I know that almost all our trade now has gone to supermarkets - not only our trade, but the trade from cafes, leisure centres and restaurants.
“So we have had lots of calls from supermarkets - Tesco alone want 20,000 people to join them.”
He continued: “If I’m honest, I say you can get the furlough payments and stay at home.
“If you're offered a job at a supermarket, many of you will want to do that.
“If you think it's a good idea, do it, I can completely understand it.”
Mr Martin promised that those who leave to work in a supermarket will be given “first preference” if they wish to return when pubs reopen.
However, many of his employees were angered by his response to the crisis, issuing a letter demanding full pay.
It claimed that staff had been “stripped of bonuses” and left in the dark about how the government pay support would be calculated.
The letter concluded: “It is clear that Wetherspoons hold no regard for the financial and mental wellbeing of their employees.”
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