Lidl is giving its UK staff a pay rise worth £10m with a higher hourly rate likely to propel it to the top of the supermarket pay league table.
The retailer said 19,000 employees would get a pay rise in March when its hourly rate would move from £9 to £9.30 outside London and from £10.55 to £10.75 in the capital. The rises match the higher rate announced by the Living Wage Foundation – the charity which sets the voluntary measure – last week. The official minimum wage set by the government for Britons aged over 25 is £8.21.
Christian Härtnagel, Lidl’s UK chief executive, said: “During this time of such uncertainty, we feel fortunate to be able to make this investment in our colleagues and give them peace of mind with regards to their salary. Our hourly paid employees represent over 80% of our entire workforce, and are the absolute backbone of our business.”
Along with its German rival Aldi, Lidl is going from strength-to-strength in the UK as shoppers turn their backs on the mainstream supermarket brands. The discount chains are both expanding aggressively with Lidl setting a target to grow from 770 stores to 1,000 over the next four years.
The best payer is currently Sainsbury’s, at £9.20 an hour outside London and £9.80 in the capital. However, the pay rise was controversial as it involved staff giving up entitlements such as paid breaks and annual bonuses. Tesco is due to increase its rate to £9.30 in October 2020 as part of a staggered deal announced in the summer.
Asda also recently announced a pay increase, with its hourly rates to go up to £9.18 and £10.31 respectively in April but there was a row there too over the new contract, which also involved changes to working conditions which left some workers worse off.
Katherine Chapman, the director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “It’s a great to hear that Lidl will be going beyond the government minimum and paying the new real living wage rate to employees. However, as Lidl is not accredited with the Living Wage Foundation, we can’t be sure that its subcontracted staff, such as cleaners, trolley collectors and warehouse workers, are paid this rate.”