Lidl's Northern Ireland staff set to miss out on pay rise
Staff at supermarket chain Lidl are being given a pay rise worth £1,200 a year after the supermarket said it was hiking its minimum wages.
The supermarket will pay a minimum of £8.20 an hour across England, Scotland and Wales and £9.35 per hour in London from October 1, benefiting 53% of its 17,000-strong UK workforce.
But its 600 Northern Ireland staff will not benefit as its operation here is separate.
A spokeswoman for Lidl in Northern Ireland said it "offers attractive wages for all staff members".
"In August 2015 Lidl NI increased the hourly wage paid to staff, to ensure they were in line with the proposed living wage for Northern Ireland."
She said its wages were "among the best in the sector. Store assistants working in Lidl NI earn up to £8.60 per hour.
"Lidl NI continues to monitor all discussions and proposals in relation to the living wage in Northern Ireland and will review and update accordingly when required."
Jimmy Kelly, Ireland Secretary for the Unite union, said: "This announcement by Lidl is an insult to our members. Our members who work for Lidl have been contacting the union to express their anger over their exclusion from a Living Wage rate that will be extended to workers in England, Scotland and Wales but not Northern Ireland. They want to know why they are being discriminated against.
"Workers we represent in the Lidl Distribution Centre are often asked to work exceptionally long working weeks with little to no notice and this places extra pressure on them and their families yet are paid less than the £8.20 rate that will be guaranteed for all Lidl workers in Britain. There is no justification for this discriminatory practice.
"Lidl want to get some good publicity by promoting themselves as a progressive, Living Wage employer but the reality is that they want to short change workers in Northern Ireland. For our part, Unite will be meeting our members working for Lidl to consider our response but no doubt consumers across Northern Ireland will take note of a retailer who apparently places a lower value on Northern Ireland workers than those in other parts of the UK."