German hard-discounter Aldi is smashing through the minimum wage pay scale to offer inflation-busting wages to store assistants.
A recent recruitment drive for store staff has been offering prospective employees an hourly wage of £7.20, rising to £8.20 including bonuses.
The kingsize pay pack for store staff is significantly higher than the new national minimum wage of £5.05 an hour, which came into force last week and which already represented a 4.1% hike.
Aldi’s rate leaves the leading multiple grocers in its wake. Tesco, which said it remained happy with what it offers its store assistants, revealed that its employees can expect to earn
up to £6.96 an hour. This is without taking into consideration bonuses or the company’s Shares in Success rewards scheme, which a spokeswoman said had the equivalent effect of bringing an employees’ salary up by 92p an hour tax-free.
The difference with Asda is even greater where the hourly rate for a checkout operator, not including bonuses, stands at £5.81. For those employed in London it is £6.19.
Both Sainsbury and Morrisons declined to reveal pay packets.
Ads for the latest Aldi recruitment drive say its “store assistants earn more because they do more”. A spokeswoman said this was because staff had a different role to store assistants in other grocers.
Aldi employees are regularly expected to work on filling shelves, staffing checkouts and cleaning stores as Aldi operates with the minimum number of staff to run its stores efficiently. It denied that this meant staff were often overstretched.
An Usdaw spokeswoman suggested that much more was expected of Aldi workers than those working for other supermarkets. She also suggested the retailer held total flexibility over when staff did and didn’t work. “This could create added pressures for workers, many of whom would be women with children,” said the spokeswoman.
Aldi denied it treated staff differently to other retailers.
Meanwhile, Aldi has just begun work to develop a new £30m regional HQ and distribution centre in Cardiff. The HQ will employ 300 employees and is set to play a key part in Aldi’s store rollout programme.
The spokeswoman said that Aldi planned to have 500 stores in the next seven years and that it would have 300 by the end of this year.
Ronan Hegarty