Aldi increases staff pay for third time this year as cost of living soars

Minimum rate of £11 an hour puts it above Lidl and back at top of supermarket wage league

Aldi is increasing pay for its workers for the third time in a year with a new minimum rate of £11 an hour, putting it back at the top of the supermarket pay league.

The UK’s fourth largest grocer is upping pay by 50p an hour – or almost 5% – for about 26,000 staff from January, announcing the increase just over a month after its last rise, in September, when shop workers’ hourly rate rose 40p to a minimum £10.50 an hour. Workers inside the M25 motorway around London will see their pay rise to at least £12.45 an hour.

The new rates put Aldi back above Lidl, which put up pay to £10.90 an hour this month. Aldi pays for breaks during shifts, unlike Lidl and many other supermarkets, a benefit worth an additional £871 annually.

Aldi’s new minimum is also higher than the independently verified living wage, which was raised to a at least £10.90 in September.

Giles Hurley, the chief executive of Aldi’s business in the UK and Ireland, said: “Just as we promise Aldi customers that we will always offer the lowest grocery prices in Britain, we are committed to being the highest-paying supermarket for our colleagues.”

Supermarket pay has shot up this year as stores compete for staff against other high street, travel and hospitality businesses now that coronavirus pandemic restrictions have eased, in a labour market where supply has been restricted by Brexit worker visa limits.

Several chains have raised pay two or three times this year as they try to keep pace with the soaring cost of living in order to hold on to experienced staff and attract new recruits before the Christmas rush.

The budget chain Wilko joined Aldi in upping pay on Friday, announcing its shop workers would now get a minimum of £10 an hour, increased from £9.60 awarded in the spring. Those in its warehouses and delivery operation would get an additional 50p to £10.50 until March under a temporary “market forces” deal in response to heavy competition for workers.

Hospitality businesses, including restaurants and hotels, are also being forced to increase pay and in some cases limit trading hours as they struggle to find enough suitably qualified workers to cope with an increase in demand.

Aldi is particularly in need of more recruits as it is opening about one new store a week and is vying with its fellow German-owned discounter Lidl to be the UK’s fastest-growing grocery chain.

Both are thriving as shoppers switch at least some of their spending away from traditional supermarkets in an effort to keep down costs at a time of significant food price inflation.


Sarah Butler

The GuardianTramp

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