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Lidl to give staff big pay rise after pledging support for recommended living wage

| International retailers

Over half of Lidl’s 17,000 UK workers are set to benefit from a major increase in their hourly pay after the discounter pledged to implement the minimum wage as recommended by the Living Wage Foundation.

Distinct from the government’s new National Living Wage due to be introduced next year, the Living Wage Foundation campaigns for companies to pay staff enough to meet the cost of living. From October, Lidl UK employees will earn a minimum of £8.20 an hour across England, Scotland and Wales, and £9.35 an hour in London, meaning many staff will see a 14% increase in their average pay, taking them past the level recommended by the Living Wage Foundation.

The discounter said the increase would cost £9m, although it stressed that this would not be passed onto consumers through higher prices in its stores. The increase will cover employees of all ages, unlike the government’s scheme which only applies to workers aged over 25.

Ronny Gottschlich, Lidl Chief Executive in the UK, said: “It’s only right that we show our commitment, in the same way that the team commit to the business and our customers each and every day, by ensuring a wage that supports the cost of living. As a result, Lidl employees will be among the best paid in the supermarket sector, and that’s something I feel incredibly proud about.”

Meanwhile, Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, commented: "None of the big four supermarkets currently pay the living wage rates, and the BRC are very behind the curve on this. Lidl is demonstrating this commitment to staff, and customers want to know that they're shopping in places which treat their staff well."

Speaking to the BBC, Richard Perks, Retail Director at consultants Mintel, said that Lidl's success in recent years had put it into a position to upstage its larger rivals. "Lidl's profits must have risen very sharply in the UK during the last few years so it has the headroom to do this. The big four supermarkets are going the other way. They are all losing market share, they are all under pressure, they are all seeing markets decline. They will be struggling to do this now and if they did they would have to put up prices."

Last month, Sainsbury’s gave its 137,000 shop staff a 4% pay rise, the highest increase for store employees in more than a decade and taking their hourly rate above the above the Government’s new living wage – although still well behind the rate being offered by Lidl.

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