Multinational supermarket giant Lidl’s decision to increase the wages of more than 24 per cent of its workers has prompted trade unionists to call for more employers across the North to address the “longest stagnation in pay since Napoleonic times.”
Lidl Northern Ireland has already committed to increasing the wages of almost a quarter of its staff from next March.
The supermarket’s customer assistant level recruits to 38 stores across the North currently start on £8.45 per hour (plus supplements).
However, from March 1, 2018 all customer assistants will earn a minimum of £8.75 per hour.
John Paul Scally, Managing Director at Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland said; “At Lidl we are in a fortunate position that the last few years have seen our business go from strength to strength in Northern Ireland. Key to this success has been the dedication and commitment shown by our teams and I’m incredibly proud to show our commitment to them by increasing wages and ensuring that salaries support the cost of living.”
The Unite union welcomed the move and said other employers should follow suit in order to address ‘poverty pay.’
Unite’s Regional Equality officer, Taryn Trainor, said: “Poverty pay is the biggest problem faced by our society. Workers are living through the longest stagnation in their pay since Napoleonic times as the failure of pay rates to keep pace with inflation. This means falling standards of living for working people, women in particular; depressed demand and growth, as well as decreased investment for productivity gains. There is now an onus on employers to end the scourge of poverty pay.”