Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Friday, 18 September 2015

Lidl Is The First Supermarket To Pay Its Workers The Actual Living Wage!

Lidl Is The First Supermarket To Pay Its Workers The Actual Living Wage!

The Debrief: German company decides that, you know, people should earn enough to live on…

So you know how the cost of living is ridiculous in the UK? Well, a campaign group, The Living Wage Foundation, has spent a long while trying to implore companies and the government to replace the minimum wage (£6.50 an hour) with a living wage.

And George Osborne, the chancellor, declared in his emergency budget that an official living wage would be recommended. This national living wage falls short of the campaigners’ recommended living wage (it’s £7.20 an hour instead of £7.85 an hour, but matches the campaign’s call for £9.15 an hour in London), but it’s a start, right?

What’s more is that companies are signing up to pay it to their workers. And Lidl is the first supermarket to have embraced the idea. Not just the government’s one, though. The actual, proper minimum wage. So from October, they’ll pay a minimum of £8.20 an hour across England, Scotland and Wales, and £9.35 an hour in London.

Ronny Gottschlich, chief executive of Lidl UK, told the BBC: ‘Lidl employees will be amongst the best paid in the supermarket sector.’

Rhys Moore, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: ‘We are thrilled. We’ve been working with and trying to persuade the retail sector to commit to pay the living wage rates.

‘None of the big four supermarkets currently pay the living wage rates, and the British Retail Consortium is very behind the curve on this.’

For Lidl to be able to pay for the hike in outgoings to these wages depends on its success – it’s made a lot of money recently and is looking to expand.

However, any rise in prices to cover wages could well be a problem for the budget supermarket’s customers. For many, it’s the only place they can go for cheap caviar.

No, but seriously, it’s important to consider the knock-on effects of companies paying so many of their staff higher wages.

Meanwhile, more restaurants that keep the service charge when it’s paid via card (or charge staff for it to be transferred to their payslips) have been named and shamed. Polpo, Masala Zone, CAU, Fortnum & Mason, Banana Tree, Draft House and Mango Tree are all, the Evening Standard’s sources claim, not paying their staff the full tips they earn.

Like this? You might also be interested in:

Turning A 20p Bag Of Carrots Into A Week’s Worth Of Meals, And Other Realities Of Living On The Minimum Wage

Young Workers Need Tips To Survive, So Why Are Restaurants Keeping Them?

Six Reasons The Government’s Living Wage Is Nonsense

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Tags: Food, Work it