Aldi has given its employees a late Christmas present as it unveiled new pay rates this morning - and boasted that the new deal will make it the highest-paying employer in the supermarket sector.
The supermarket is known for offering the cheapest groceries in the UK, but is now insisting it won't settle for a budget workforce, and will be paying its staff a minimum of £8.53 an hour nationally, and £9.75 an hour in London.
That's ahead of the national living wage rate, which is currently set at £7.20 an hour. In the Autumn Statement, chancellor Philip Hammond said this figure will rise to £7.50 as of April this year.
Employers signed up to the Living Wage Foundation's pay rate are obliged to pay a minimum of £8.45 per hour nationally. Aldi said it would be paying its employees more than this because of their "dedication and commitment".
The budget grocer also boasted that it is one of the few employers in the industry that still offers staff paid breaks. Even the John Lewis Partnership, known for its generosity to staff, has cut paid breaks for new Waitrose employees, as revealed by City A.M. last year.
Matthew Barnes, chief executive of Aldi UK, said:
We recognise the valuable contribution that our thousands of store employees make every day.
We employ the best people in retail and invest in their training to enable them to carry out a range of different roles in store. This approach means that we can continue to provide customers with the lowest grocery prices in the UK.
The supermarket also announced that it is recruiting 4,000 new employees as it moves towards opening its 700th store - part of the business' plan to gobble up a 10 per cent share of the UK grocery sector.