Discount supermarket chain Aldi has delivered a new year pay rise for its 30,000 store staff and revealed plans to recruit another 4,000 shop workers over the year ahead.
The German-owned retailer said it will increase its national minimum hourly pay rate for store employees to £9.55 from February 1, from £9.40.
Those who work inside the M25 will earn at least £11.07 an hour, up from £10.90.
Aldi is one of the only UK supermarkets to pay for breaks and claimed that, including these, its national hourly rate for an average shift will rise to a sector-beating £10.11.
It came after Morrisons last week became the first UK supermarket to announce its minimum pay will increase to at least £10 an hour from April.
Aldi said it has made the pay rise to recognise the “outstanding efforts” of its employees throughout the pandemic, with staff at the group also awarded bonuses in April and December.
The firm, which has more than 36,000 staff in total across the UK, also said it aims to hire a further 4,000 shop workers this year as part of a long-term target of having 1,200 stores by 2025.
It already has more than 900 stores across the UK and is aiming to open around one store every week to reach the goal.
Giles Hurley, chief executive of Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “I want to express my sincere thanks to every single Aldi colleague who stepped up when it mattered and helped us succeed in our most important mission of all – feeding the nation.
“Their outstanding efforts have ensured that our customers continue to have access to fresh affordable food, every single day.
“It has never been more important to ensure that our colleagues are rewarded fully for their immense contribution during a challenging period for everyone.”
Its new rate from next month will be 83p more per hour than the current National Living Wage, and £2.35 more an hour for staff working within the M25, the group added.
Earlier this month, Aldi hailed a record 10.6% sales hike in the four weeks to December 24.
Aldi said it was also buoyed by its expanded delivery business, with thousands of customers using its click and collect service and on-demand collaboration with Deliveroo.
Last month, Aldi committed to paying back more than £100 million in business rates relief it has received from the state during the pandemic.