Lidl will become the best paying supermarket in the United Kingdom: the discounter has decided to invest twenty million euros in salary increases. This is remarkable because Lidl employees recently went on strike in Belgium to demand better working conditions.
Just exceeding living wage
In the United Kingdom, Lidl has freed up 18 million pounds (over 20 million euros) to invest in wages. This increase will make the retailer the best-paying supermarket in the country: for some employees, it means a pay rise of more than 6 per cent.
From March 2022, entry-level wages will rise from 9.50 to 10.10 pounds an hour; those working in London will even start at 11.30 instead of 10.85 pounds. Depending on seniority, hourly wages can rise further to 12.25 pounds in London and 11.40 pounds outside the capital. Wages thus increase just above the national living wage.
Lidl has 21,000 employees in the United Kingdom, whom the discounter wants to give recognition for their hard work during the Covid-19 pandemic by increasing their wages. In addition, the measure should also help attract new employees. After all, the United Kingdom is suffering from labour shortages, a consequence of Covid-19 and, especially, Brexit.
Strike in Belgium
Since the United Kingdom closed the European door, fewer people from overseas are moving there because of a stricter migration policy. In addition, many non-Brits have also left the country. The pressure on the labour market has led to competition between employers, and supermarket employees are now reaping the rewards.
Remarkably, a national strike broke out in mid-October, not in the UK but in Belgium. Hundreds of Lidl supermarket employees held a week-long strike against the high work pressure in the stores. Eventually, an arrangement was made for a new collective labour agreement and adjustments to the work organisation to relieve the pressure. These include expanding the flying unit, automating tasks and hiring new staff faster. "The biggest-ever wage investment" nevertheless remains reserved for the British.