European retailer Lidl has become the UK’s top-paying supermarket after bosses announced that they would raise wages for all 19,000 of their staff across the country. The supermarket recently reported that they would raise employee wages to the total cost of £10m, which has been designed to fit in line with new estimates of the Standard Living Wage. Charities who are working to establish a standard living wage, including the Living Wage Foundation, have welcomed the move by the retailer and hope that other supermarkets will follow in their lead by implementing pay brackets that fit closer to their reports.
From March 2020, all 19,000 employees working in Lidl’s stores or warehouses will see an increase in their pay; for those working outside of London, wages go from £9.00 per hour to £9.30, while those in the capital will see a rise from £10.55 to £10.75. Whilst it may seem like a small percentage increase, it matches the current living wage prediction made by activists around the United Kingdom. Currently, the minimum wage set for adults over the age of 25 is £8.21, £7.70 for those aged between 21 and 24 and as little as £4.35 for anyone under the age of 18. These rates change slightly for people working in London and currently, only workers over 25 are eligible to receive rates that are in line with the National Living Wage.
In a statement from the CEO and UK directors of the German retailer, Lidl said it was pleased to bring stability to employee wages in a time of increasing economic uncertainty and that it was proud to invest in its employees by increasing wages without reducing any benefits they currently receive in their roles. Lidl currently operates over 750 stores across the UK and Northern Ireland, and many are viewing this increase in employee pay as just one of the elements of their planned expansion in 2020. The company has already announced it will open 240 more stores across the country – taking the total number to 1000. The discount retailer has slowly been encroaching on the market share of the Big Four supermarkets, with an increasing number of Britons choosing to do their weekly shop there.
Other supermarkets have also announced wage increase plans – Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s have all publicly announced they will be increasing employee wages to fit in line with the Living Wage recommendations.