SUPERMARKET Aldi has pledged to increase staff wages to a minimum rate of £8.40 per hour.
The company has confirmed that all of its UK employees will be paid at least that rate – and £9.45 an hour in London – from 1 February.
Aldi is the latest in a string of supermarkets to announce pay hikes for staff. Morrisons recently said that from March, it would increase hourly staff pay to £8.20, from a previous minimum of £6.83.
Lidl has recently introduced wage increases, paying staff a minimum of £8.20 an hour across Scotland, England and Wales and £9.35 an hour in London. Lidl’s move will cost it £9 million.
Aldi has said it will not need to raise prices to fund its move, which will also see it raise the minimum hourly rate of pay for employees in the Republic of Ireland to €11.50.
Aldi already pays all its store assistants at least £8.15 an hour and more than £9 per hour on average. Unlike some other supermarkets, it also gives employees paid breaks.
The company opened its 600th UK store earlier this month, in Cardiff. It has also announced plans to recruit and train more than 600 apprentices over the 18 months from January, to support its UK expansion.
Aldi said it was on track to achieve a target of 1,000 stores by 2022 and that it planned to recruit 35,000 more people.
Matthew Barnes, Aldi UK and Ireland chief executive, said: “The success of Aldi in the UK and Ireland has been driven by the commitment, hard work and ambition of our employees and we will continue to maintain our leading position on pay.”
The “national living wage” announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his summer Budget will see all workers aged 25 and over paid £7.20 an hour from April, rising to £9 in 2020.
Maureen Hinton, group research director at retail research agency Conlumino, recently said wages were a “big topic” for the supermarkets.
She said that with a price war already raging between supermarkets in the battle for customers’ business, their actions over staff wages were another way of giving them an edge from a marketing point of view.
Here is a summary of the hourly rates that are already paid or due to be paid by supermarkets to their staff (figures are not a like-for-like comparison):
Lidl - £8.20 - £9.35
Aldi £8.40 - £9.45
Morrisons - £8.20
Tesco - £7.39
Sainsbury’s - £7.36
Asda - £7
Waitrose - £7.45 - £8.29