JD Wetherspoon's Tim Martin has hit back at claims made by The Guardian columnist Owen Jones that his company pays "poverty wages".
Jones interviewed Martin at the Last Post in Southend-on-Sea as the pub boss toured the company's venues to speak in favour of Brexit.
During the interview, Jones said the JD Wetherspoon founder and chairman was part of the "elite", while his workers were paid "poverty wages" as low as £8.05 an hour, which would be below the living wage.
Martin has today issued a response stating that Wetherspoon pays an average of 15.8% above the statutory minimum wage and 5.5% more than the National Living Wage.
All staff aged 18 and above are paid a minimum of £8.26 per hour. The National Living Wage is currently £7.83, but will increase to £8.21 in April.
Martin said: "Owen didn't get the figures right and made critical comments, which aren't justified."
The pub boss also highlighted that JD Wetherspoon pays more than 50% of its profits in bonuses and free shares to employees.
The pub company, which employees about 38,000 full and part-time staff, also said that it has been named as a UK Top Employer for 16 consecutive years by the Top Employers Institute, who compile the list in association with The Guardian newspaper.