WETHERSPOONS staff are going on strike for the first time in history to fight for better wages and working conditions.

Kitchen and bar staff from Brighton Wetherspoons at The Post and Telegraph in North Street and The Bright Helm in West Street will stage coordinated action with McDonald’s and TGI Fridays workers on Thursday.

Their aim is to set up a union to put an end to “physically and emotionally demanding” work and ask for at least £10 an hour to match Brighton living costs.

Chris Heppel, 29, team leader at The Post and Telegraph, said: “We are pushed physically to our limits. The company tries to get away with as few members of staff as possible. We are ready to stop running away and prepared to stand together and fight and next Thursday is going to be an amazing day. There is a lot of support and it looks like there will be many of us standing together.”

In response to the staff’s plan to strike, Wetherspoons have brought forward their annual pay rise from April 2019 to November 2018.

Wetherspoons spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “The company has announced that it had increased pay rates in the last financial year (to July 2018) by £20 million and would be increasing rates this year by £27 million.

“In the last financial year we paid record monthly bonuses and free shares of £43 million, equivalent to about 50 per cent of our net profits. 75 per cent of this sum was paid to those who work in our pubs.”

According to Mr Heppel, however, who has been working for the company for about four-and-a-half years, the per cent increase is not enough to match the cost of living.

He said: “Although there has been a slight improvement, it’s still not enough. We don’t want to be taken for granted anymore.

“The company clearly recognises that Brighton is expensive to live in because they give staff that earn an annual salary a Brighton living allowance.”

Wetherspoons employs more than 37,000 people in nearly 1,000 outlets, which include pubs, Lloyds Bars and hotels.

In the half-year to January 2018, it made a profit of £62 million, a 20.6 percent increase on the same period the year before.

Staff say these figures make them feel the company “puts profits before people”.

Victoria Jordan, 23, a chef leader at The Post and Telegraph, said: “Bearing in mind I am a chef leader and my wages only cover a tiny room is a bit of a joke. I don’t know how people at entry level manage it. I panic when I have to take a sick day because I worry about how I am going to pay my bills.”

Staff said Wetherspoons only gives a certain amount of sick days which leaves many working when ill if they cannot afford to take time off.

Elsie Bradley Middle, 20, a member of The Post and Telegraph bar staff, said poor rota planning has made it difficult for workers to plan their lives around work shifts.

She said: “We just wouldn’t know what days we were on and off and this made it even more stressful.”

A recent petition on the rota issue resulted in management making a concerted effort to make sure it gives staff enough warning.

Elsie said: “It just goes to show that working in unison and voicing our concerns leads to change.

“Standing together works, and at the moment there seems to be a large number of us heading to London to put an end to this emotional and physical stress.”