Aldi joins the minimum wage supermarket bandwagon
Supermarket Aldi has pledged to increase staff wages to a minimum rate of £8.40 per hour from next February. The company has confirmed that all of its UK employees will be paid at least £8.40 an hour, and £9.45 an hour in London, from February 1 2016.
Aldi is the latest in a string of supermarkets to announce pay hikes for staff. Morrisons recently said that from March, it will increase hourly staff pay to £8.20, from a previous minimum of £6.83.
Lidl has also recently introduced wage increases, paying staff a minimum of £8.20 an hour across England, Scotland 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 euro.
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, Aldi 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 an 18-month period starting in January 2016, to support its UK expansion.
Aldi said it is on track to achieve a target of 1,000 stores by 2022 and plans to recruit 35,000 more people.
Matthew Barnes, Aldi UK and Ireland CEO, 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 next April, rising to £9 from 2020.
Maureen Hinton, group research director at retail research agency Conlumino, recently told the Press Association that wages are 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.
Sarah Vero, director of the Living Wage Foundation said: “We welcome the fantastic news that Aldi is set to raise its hourly wages to rates far above the national minimum and the premium for over 25s.
“Their bold move demonstrates that paying the Living Wage in retail is achievable, despite other major supermarket chains telling campaigners that higher wages for the lowest paid are simply not possible. The economic climate has shifted. It’s time for business to recognise we need a recovery for all.”