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Retail sector wage race

View profile for James Champness

German discount supermarket Aldi has announced that it will increase the minimum level of wage paid to its staff, in a response to the announcement made only weeks earlier by its rival Lidl, which has also stated that it will also be increasing minimum rates of pay for its workers.

Aldi’s new minimum wage of £8.53 an hour (or £9.75 in London) exceeds the Government’s national living wage of £7.20 an hour, and also surpasses the voluntary rate of £8.45 an hour recommended by the Living Wage Foundation.  The announcement allows Aldi to claim that its increased rates of pay are now the highest in the retail sector.

Commentators have welcomed the move by both supermarkets to increase wage levels, with the Guardian reflecting on a wider stagnation of pay in general amid the challenges faced by retailers as a result of the decreased value of the pound.

In related news, Professor Sir David Metcalf has been appointed as Director of Labour Market Enforcement, a newly-created role intended to gather evidence of minimum wage violations and other breaches of labour market rules.  Part of Sir David’s responsibility will oversee the 4% rise in the legal national living wage to £7.50, which take effect in April this year.