Supermarket chain Aldi has upped the pressure on its rivals after announcing it will increase pay to at least £8.53 an hour from next month.
The German discount grocer said more than 3,350 employees across the UK will benefit from the 1 February pay hike, which will see those in London paid at least £9.75 an hour. The move marks an increase on its current minimum pay of £8.40 nationally and £9.45 in London.
It will see Aldi pay more than the voluntary living wage rate of £8.45 an hour announced by the Living Wage Foundation in November, while it also beats the UK government’s national living wage of £7.20, which is set to rise to £7.50 an hour in April.
Aldi claimed its rate of pay will be the highest in the supermarket sector, beating closest rival Lidl’s recently announced increase to £8.45 nationally from March.
READ MORE: Aldi staff top supermarket pay league
Matthew Barnes, chief executive of Aldi’s UK operations, said: “We recognise the valuable contribution that our thousands of store employees make every day. Their dedication and commitment is a key reason why Aldi is the UK’s fastest-growing supermarket.”
Aldi is also recruiting 4,000 new permanent employees across stores and warehouses over 2017 as it looks to open around 70 new shops this year.
The group, which already employs 29,000 staff in total across the UK, will open its 700th UK store in February, putting it on track to hit a target of 1,000 by 2020. It is also set to open a distribution centre in Cardiff in March, taking its UK total to nine.
Industry figures revealed last month that the chain’s increasing popularity showed no sign of slowing in the 12 weeks to 4 December.
Aldi notched up a 10 per cent rise in sales over the period, while its share of the sector edged up to 6.2 per cent, from 5.6 per cent a year earlier, according to Kantar Worldpanel. This left Lidl in the shade, with sales growth of 5.7 per cent and a 4.6 per cent market share.
The two discounters have sparked a fierce price war in the supermarket sector in recent years, with the established “big four” chains looking to win back market share lost to their German rivals.