Doctors have become outraged after it’s been revealed that the popular high street cafe Pret pays staff more by the hour.
The doctors in question have since organised an advertising campaign ahead of a strike in which they claim they could earn more money ‘serving coffee than saving patients’.
Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) launched the campaign this morning (12 March) and are set to do a three-day walkout strike on Monday (13 March).
Junior doctors of the BMA took to Twitter this morning to share the campaign which reads: “Thanks to this Government, junior doctors can now make more money serving coffee than saving patients.
“From tomorrow we take #JuniorDoctorsStrike action so we’re paid what we’re worth.”
In a media release, the BMA members put forward that the government is refusing to value their junior doctors properly as well as failing to address ‘more than [a] decade of real-terms pay cuts’.
Due to these pay cuts, newly-qualified medics earn ‘just £14.09 an hour’.
This figure is based on a full-time salary of £29,384 for foundation year one for 2022-23.
The media release stated: “This is in comparison to baristas at Pret a Manger, who can earn up to £14.10 an hour, after the coffee chain recently announced it has raised wages by 19 percent this year.”
The BBC confirmed the 19 percent bump in year-on-year pay for shop staff will commence in April of this year.
Junior doctors in England will begin their three-day strike tomorrow due to ‘the more than 26 percent real-terms cuts to their pay since 2008/09,’ the media release reports.
It also reveals that a staggering ’98 percent’ of junior doctors who took part in the BMA’s recent ballot ended up voting for strike action.
This ‘unprecedented mandate for walk-outs’ has led to union membership now hitting a ‘record high of 182,000’.
Dr Becky Bates, a first-year junior doctor in the Midlands, said: “I thought by being a doctor I would be able to achieve financial independence, but instead I am still completely dependent on others.”
Bates went on to reveal that the ordeal was ‘humiliating’ for her and ‘not fair’ on her family.
“As a junior doctor,” she continued, “I can be responsible for more than 400 patients overnight – assessing them, prescribing medication, having really difficult conversations with families about end-of-life care, and I am the first port of call should something go terribly wrong.”
Bates added that her skills and responsibilities are ‘completely devalued’.
The junior doctor went on to say that her situation is ‘far from unique’ hence why she and the ‘overwhelmingly majority’ of her colleagues are heading to the picket line this week.
Dr Robert Laurenson and Dr Vivek Trivedi, BMA junior doctors committee co-chairs, have also released a statement on the campaign.
They asked: “Is £14.09 an hour really all junior doctors are worth?”
“These are people who can be providing life-saving care, having trained intensively at medical school, and racking up around £100,000 worth of debt in the process,” they added.
While explaining that they are ‘fully supportive of any worker getting an inflation matching pay rise’, the co-chairs noted: “It is worth thinking on the fact that the Government has cut junior doctors pay by so much that they could earn more serving coffee.”
In a clarification follow-up media release, the BMA members confirmed that they were asking for a junior doctor salary to ‘be increased to £19 per hour’.
They noted that this figure is ‘where it should be had the Govt not cut junior doctor pay in real-terms year-on-year’.
In a more recent tweet posted just an hour ago, the junior doctors outlined: “First and foremost, we are not ‘demanding the biggest pay rise’ – we’re demanding that our members’ pay be restored to what it should be.”
Pret UK’s official website outlines that one of the many perks and ‘benefits’ of the job include ‘great pay’.
The company states that it offers a ‘competitive pay rate’ to ‘reward and recognise the great work’ that its staff members do.
It reads: “Depending on location, Team Members can earn up to £11.75 per hour (after initial training).
“Baristas can earn up to £12.30 per hour and Leaders (supervisors) up to £13.15 per hour,” the site currently reveals.
LADbible has reached out to both Pret and the British Medical Association for comment.