BrewDog to stop paying staff Real Living Wage to cut costs

11 January 2024 by
BrewDog to stop paying staff Real Living Wage to cut costs

BrewDog is to stop paying all staff the Real Living Wage in a bid to cut costs.

The craft brewer announced the change in a letter to its teams, which was leaked by trade union Unite Hospitality on X.

It said that despite the "strong performance" over Christmas there was "no hiding from the fact" the business made a trading loss in 2023.

The letter read: "Despite many efforts in the past 12 months to reduce our spending we still need to find more ways to get this business back to profitability and the financial stability that is needed. Inevitably, this does mean making some hard decisions."

BrewDog said that from 3 January, new staff would be hired on the National Living Wage rate of £10.42 per hour, which is lower than the 2022/23 Real Living Wage rate of £10.90 outside London and £11.95 in the capital.

From 1 April, the government's National Living Wage will rise by almost 10%.

BrewDog staff outside of London will see their pay rise to £11.44 in line with the new statutory minimum, but below the 2023/24 voluntary Real Living Wage of £12.

In the capital, hourly wages for BrewDog staff will remain at £11.95, which is below the Real Living Wage rate of £13.15.

The Real Living Wage is based on the cost of living and is voluntarily paid by over 14,000 UK businesses. It covers people aged 18 and over and has a separate, higher rate for London.

Hospitality employers which have signed up include the River Cottage group, Mercato Metropolitano and Virgin Hotels.

BrewDog was previously featured on the Living Wage Foundation website as an accredited employer, but its page has since been deleted.

Unite Hospitality tweeted that it was working with members across the country to "challenge this awful decision and force the senior management of the company to do the right thing by the workers who have made them millions".

A BrewDog spokesperson said: "As a result of the changes we're making – and despite unprecedented challenges in the hospitality sector – our staff outside London will be getting a 4.95% increase in base pay, and crew currently working in London will be paid 4.5% above the National Living Wage.

"We have always been fully committed to doing the best we can for our people, and our benefits package is far more generous than the industry average. Last year we gave over £350,000 to our bars team via our unique profit share programme.

"Our team also benefits from a unique bonus scheme which sees all crew members receive an additional £1 an hour for the month for surpassing customer service standards. In addition, we offer signature benefits like "pawternity" leave and paid sabbaticals after five years of service.

"We are proud to be one of The Sunday Times Best Places to Work, and we were named a Top UK Employer by the UK Top Employers Institute."

BrewDog operates around 100 bars and hotels worldwide and in 2023 announced plans to triple its footprint with the launch of a further 200 venues in key markets over the next six years.

Photo: Graeme J Baty/Shutterstock

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