Bar staff at Antic, which has 49 pubs with more planned, mainly in south London, are taking a stand against poverty pay and demanding a living wage, double time over the busy Christmas period and recognition of their union, Unite.

The Unite members will take their call for the company to ‘pay up and respect their union’ direct to Antic boss, Anthony Thomas, at a protest outside the head office Christmas party at the Denmark Arms in East Ham, later today (Wednesday 19 December). It is the latest in a series of protests in recent weeks which have attracted widespread community and customer support.

WHEN: Wednesday 19 December 2018 from 19:00

WHERE: Denmark Arms, 381 Barking Road, London E6 1LA

The workers, who are paid £7.83 an hour – the basic legal minimum for over 25s – also claim to be unable to take the breaks they’re legally entitled to because of short staffing, and dispute the company’s claims that changing the wage structure would cost jobs, given the company’s rapid push to open more pubs.

Unite is calling on Antic to respond to the collective grievance submitted by over 100 union members calling for double time on Christmas Eve, Boxing day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day - the company’s offer of time and a half is not enough.

Unite activist, Paul (name changed to protect identity) said: “We’ve had enough of company bosses saying ‘employees are our most valuable asset’ and then being fobbed off with wages we can’t even live on. Some of us are being forced to work two jobs just to make ends meet.

“It’s time Antic took responsibility and recognised the contribution we make.

“All we want this Christmas is a wage we can live on and a bit extra for working over this busy period.

“We’d like to thank the local community and our customers for their support- it’s been phenomenal, and to tell the company that we’re not going away.

Unite regional officer Dave Turnbull said: “Antic workers, like their fellow union members at TGI Fridays, McDonalds and Wetherspoons, are no longer willing to sit back and be overworked for poverty pay. What these big chains are doing is exploitation – plain and simple, and it needs to stop.

“We’re urging Antic customers to back the workers by emailing the boss, Antic founder Anthony Thomas, asking him to pay staff fairly over the busy Christmas period.  It’s the very least the company can do because without our members they would have no business. It’s time to pay up and respect our union.”

The Antic workers are now part of a growing movement of young people, which includes employees of TGI Fridays, McDonalds and Wetherspoons, joining trade unions to collectively challenge bad practice in the notoriously poorly paid and exploitative hospitality industry.


For more information please contact Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774 146 777.

Email: Chantal Chegrinec

Note to editors:

EMAIL THE BOSS; Antic founder, Anthony Thomas at

Owner Antic Collective run 49 pubs mainly in south London. The original company went into administration in 2013 over unpaid debts, it was subsequently bought by a former executive of the company, leaving a £1.7 million tax bill unpaid.

Many of the pubs are in buildings converted from their former use, such as the ‘Job Centre’ a former Job Centre Plus building in Deptford and Effra Social in the former Effra Conservative club in Brixton.

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.