Walmart staff left behind as Starbucks ups hourly wage to $15

The supermarket has recently raised basic pay to $13, but is behind other big employers

Gino Spocchia
Thursday 28 October 2021 18:54

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Starbucks has announced that it will boost wages from $12 (£8) to $15 (£11) an hour, in a move that has left big US employers including Walmart behind.

In a statement, Starbucks said on Wednesday it would increase wages by next summer for its 350.000 employees in the US, with some set to receive a $23 (£16) hourly rate.

It follows calls by progressives in Congress for a $15 wage mandated at the federal level, amid a fiercely competitive US jobs market for employers.

Employees, meanwhile, also called on Starbucks to boost pay, amid the formation of a union in Buffalo, New York, which will be called Starbucks Workers United.

Rossann Williams, Starbucks’ president for North America, said the $15 an hour wage would be joined by increased benefits for staff.

She also highlighted that it was the third time Starbucks had boosted workers’ pay in 24 months.

Walmart, another of the US’s biggest employers, has so far not followed the Seattle-based coffee chain in introducing a $15 hourly wage.

It comes despite Walmart suggesting it would do so in February, when it floated the introduction of a $13 (£9) hourly wage.

Walmart said it would mean its workforce was on an “average” of $15 an hour, but as CNN Business reported, that is not the same as all employees being paid at least $15 an hour.

The chain said in September that it would increase its base rate from $11 (£7) to $12 hourly, which is lower than Target and Amazon pay its lowest paid workers.

It is also in spite of tens of thousands of jobs being available in the US — with companies struggling to recruit and retain workers without raising wages and introducing benefits for staff.

Walmart employees number about 1.6 million workers in the US, of whom 550,000 are thought to be on $12 an hour.

The Independent has approached Walmart for comment.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press

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