What will the living wage mean for supermarket staff?

George Osborne’s pledge to introduce a ‘national living wage’ of £9 an hour by 2020 should mean a wage rise for thousands of Scots shop workers.

Morrisons now pays the highest standard rate per hour out of the big four supermarkets
Morrisons now pays the highest standard rate per hour out of the big four supermarkets

The chancellor’s surprise announcement in the summer budget will lift the current statutory minimum wage of £6.50 per hour to £7.20 as of April next year.

Employers will then have four years to implement the full £9 rate.

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The bad news for younger staff is Osborne’s national living wage will only apply to those aged 25 and over. The Government claims this is necessary so employers are incentivised to hire less experienced staff.

It’s estimated that by 2020 staff over 25 working 35 hours a week and earning the minimum wage will see their gross wages increase by around £5200.

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There are already signs that the biggest retailers are preparing to increase their standard hourly rates.

Morrisons announced last month that it had negotiated a new rate of £8.20 to make it the highest payer among the big four supermarket chains in the UK.

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Joanne McGuinness of Usdaw, which represents shop workers, said: “For some time we have been talking to the

company about taking retail staff up to and beyond the Living Wage Foundation rate, currently set at £7.85 an hour. So I am delighted that we have agreed a rise that takes staff way past that to £8.20.

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“The new consolidated hourly rate is now the highest of the big four supermarkets, which is paid every hour not just when staff work at times that attract premium pay. It is a big step forward and shows that the company are prepared to invest in the staff to help grow the business.”

Morrisons chief executive David Potts said: “We have been listening to our colleagues who told us they want their pay to be more competitive and simpler.

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“By paying a significantly higher hourly rate, we are recognising the contribution of our excellent staff, who are so important to the revival of Morrisons.”

We Know Scotland has compared the minimum rates per hour at Scotland’s other leading grocery retailers.

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SCOTMID

The co-operative, which has 350 units in Scotland and around 5000 staff, pays a standard rate of £6.70 an hour. A company spokesman said staff also receive in-store discounts between 10 and 20 per cent and “generous” holiday allowances.

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TESCO

The UK’s largest supermarket chain has more than 200 stores in Scotland. Its minimum pay is £7.20 per hour, with staff receiving 10 per cent in-store discount.

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SAINSBURY’S

Sainsbury’s, which has 90 stores north of the border, offer a minimum wage of £7.36 - but staff are paid for breaks. They also receive 10 per cent in-store discount.

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ASDA

Per hour, Asda’s minimum wage rose to £7 this month from £6.89. Staff receive a 10 per cent discount and an annual bonus.

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MARKS & SPENCER

£7.41 per hour, annual bonus and 29 per cent staff discount.

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ALDI

Stock assistants, who make up around 10 per cent of staff earn, £7.25 per hour. The majority of staff, who are classed as shop assistants, earn £8.15 an hour.

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LIDL

£8.20 per hour.

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FARMFOODS

Declined to comment.