Pret A Manger has announced their third pay rise in 12 months, allowing staff to earn up to £14.10 per hour based on location and experience.
The pay rise will bring some baristas up to an hourly pay roughly equivalent to that earned by NHS junior doctors in their first years of work.
The coffee chain said that the rise, which goes into effect in April, will amount to a 19% increase in year-on-year pay for employees.
The decision to raise wages again comes as hospitality businesses across the UK face intense competition for staff during a national labour shortage.
Meanwhile, Guy Meakin, Pret’s Interim Managing Director, said: “We’re proud to be making another significant investment in our people’s success and wellbeing.
“As the cost of living continues to rise, we hope this latest increase in pay, and our expanded benefits package, goes some way in providing further support for our hardworking teams.”
The announcement, which Pret claims now makes its baristas some of the highest paid in the industry, has sparked debate around industries which have not made similar efforts to shield workers against rising inflation.
This follows the news that junior doctors will strike for 72 hours later this month is an ongoing dispute about pay.
Dr Rachel Clarke, palliative care doctor and writer, received 1.3 million views on her Tweet comparing the Pret pay rise to NHS junior doctor wages this morning.
Junior doctors in their first foundation year make £29,384 annually under the 2016 contract, and generally work an average of 48 hours a week.
The British Medical Association (BMA), the trade union that represents all UK doctors and medical students, said: “With inflation still at budget-busting levels, NHS waiting lists at record highs and staff shortages across the board, junior doctors’ morale has been systemically chipped away at.”
They also claim that junior doctors’ pay has been cut by more than a quarter in real terms since 2008, despite workload and waiting lists reaching record highs post-pandemic.
The health secretary, Steve Barclay, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the strike action.