Aldi has announced that all its UK employees will be paid at least £8.40 an hour (£9.45 an hour in London), from February 2016.
The new rate is significantly higher than the hourly pay offered by most other UK supermarkets, and higher than the living wage, which is currently £7.85 outside and £9.15 inside London, but due to be revised next week.
[Aldi’s] 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” – Sarah Vero, Living Wage Foundation
Matthew Barnes, chief executive of the German budget chain, said Aldi was committed to offering the best pay and benefits in the sector: “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 company currently pays store assistants £8.15 or more an hour and more than £9.00 per hour on average. Aldi is also one of a few supermarkets to give staff paid breaks.
The new rate represents an increase of more than 3% on entry-level pay for store assistants, but 16% for stock assistants and caretakers, who will benefit most from the new rate.
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.”
Minimum and living wage resources
While paying above the living wage, Aldi is not an accredited living wage employer, as sub-contracted workers on Aldi premises are paid beneath the Living Wage rate.
“Seventy per cent of people report that they would choose to shop in a living wage accredited retail chain, and more than 85% of people think businesses that can, should pay the rate,” added Vero.
“We hope that this trend of increasing pay rates on the high street will continue and consumers can make meaningful living wage choices at the check-outs.”
Aldi opened its 600th store in the UK this month and is on track to achieve its target of 1,000 stores by 2022, with plans to recruit 35,000 more people. In the Republic of Ireland, it said it will raise its minimum hourly rate of pay for all employees to €11.50.
Aldi also announced plans to recruit and train more than 600 apprentices over an 18-month period starting January 2016, to support its UK expansion.
The statutory “national living wage”, distinct from the voluntary living wage, is set to be introduced for those aged 25 and over on 1 April 2016, not on 6 April 2016 as previously announced by the Government.