Coronavirus has created heroes and zeros in the business community.
While many firms have rightly been credited for stepping in to protect their staff, aid community projects and support NHS workers, others seem to have abandoned their moral compass altogether.
Several businesses, most of whom have extremely wealthy bosses and large cash reserves, have shown their true colours as the proverbial excrement hits the fan.
In response consumers have been urged to boycott them when the crisis has passed.
We take a look at the main culprits.
A call to boycott Wetherspoons was put out on social media yesterday after the pub chain’s founder, Tim Martin, announced to staff that he will pay them until the pubs last opened, but there will be no further payments until the Government fulfils its promise to cover 80 per cent of the wages of workers affected.
He also suggested they get jobs at Tesco until the pandemic passes. Stay classy, Tim.
Sports Direct employees said they felt their lives were being “undervalued” after the store announced they would still be made to work despite stores being closed to the public.
The retailer said on Tuesday that it would shut stores in a major U-turn after initially saying its high street shops would continue to sell sports and fitness equipment in the face of coronavirus.
However, the company said its factories and warehouses will remain open and deliveries to customers will continue, all with social distancing in place.
Andrew Neil said he suspects Britannia Hotels will be added to the list of businesses people will not be frequenting after the crisis when Aviemore Coylumbridge Hotel ruthlessly kicked staff out of live-in accommodation, telling them their services are “no longer required“.
The hotel has since reversed the decision, blaming an ‘administrative error’ for sacking staff during the pandemic.
Clearly it had nothing to do with the massive public backlash following the decision.
Virgin Atlantic was heavily criticised after it told staff to take eight weeks of unpaid leave due to a sharp drop in demand caused by the outbreak of the virus.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “It is a disgrace for a company owned by a billionaire to ask its employees to live without wages for two months in the middle of a crisis.
“Richard Branson can put his hand in his own pocket if needs be.”
EasyJet made the perverse decision to appeal for taxpayer support last week despite handing shareholders £174 million in dividends.
Labour MP David Lammy described the move as “greedy super capitalism at its worst” as the UK government drew up plans to buy into airlines to save the industry.
Staff at Wren Kitchens have been left without a wage amid the coronavirus pandemic after the firm laid off hundreds of workers across the country.
According to reports they were read a specially crafted “Covid-19” script in which they were told after a “review of their performance” that the decision had been made to “terminate employment”.
Factory staff that have been kept on say they are in “fear for their life” as they were told to go to work as normal despite a government shutdown.
Cineworld and Picturehouse
Cineworld and Picturehouse made mass redundancies last week and cut pay for all retained staff by 60 per cent.
The devastating decision left many employees wondering how they will afford essentials such as housing, electricity, gas and food in the coming weeks and months.
Leaked emails from Next HQ show staff are being told to take unpaid leave or use holiday days if they’re worried about coronavirus.
Workers are being docked pay if they turn up late due to transport disruption. Staff in warehouses say the company is “putting lives at risk” as social distancing rules aren’t being followed, with 50 people stood together brushing shoulders according to one employee.
Hotel chain Travelodge was criticised this week after it closed a number of hotels being used to house homeless and vulnerable people, leaving some fearing they would have nowhere to go.
It said it was acting in line with government coronavirus guidance, but on Tuesday the Ministry of Housing said:
“All hotels, hostels, and B&Bs providing rooms to support people who are homeless through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies should remain open and are not affected by the guidance issued yesterday.”
A petition has been set up online following reports that Wickes are forcing staff to come into store to service click and collect orders and deliveries in spite of government guidelines.
One anonymous source told The London Economic that staff are being forced to either turn up to work or “not get paid”, with some being told to cancel holidays later in the year or take unpaid leave if they want to follow the government’s advice.
Staff at home retail store The Range claim they are being forced into work despite the government ordering stores to close.
According to one source they have been told they will receive no pay if they want to isolate with little been done to enforce social distancing and ensure the safety of staff in work.