Aldi Ireland is to hire 400 new recruits and raise its minimum pay rate to €11.50 an hour, equivalent to the recommended living wage threshold. This comes just days after fellow German retailers Lidl also vowed to pay the living wage to its staff.

Aldi’s move comes on the back of sustained sales growth and store expansion in Ireland. According to the latest figures Aldi has a 9 percent share of the retail market. The plan to recruit and train 400 new staff is designed to support their ongoing expansion drive.

In November Aldi Ireland will be opening a its 121st and 122nd Irish store in Galway and Limerick respectively. Next year it plans to be opening a further seven stores across the country.

The decision to pay staff the living wage comes as Aldi chief executive Matthew Barnes said the company are “committed to offering the best pay and benefits in the industry.”

“The success of Aldi in Ireland has been driven by the commitment, hard work and ambition of our employees and we will continue to maintain our leading position on pay,” he said.

The minimum wage is a third higher than the current statutory minimum wage, which is currently €8.65 an hour. As a result of the recent budget this is due to rise to €9.15 from January.

The living wage is defined as the minimum pay workers need to meet their needs for housing, utilities, transport, healthcare, clothing and food. It differs from the legally required minimum wage, which campaigners say often fails to meet basic standard-of-living requirements.

In a statement, Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash TD welcomed the announcement, saying Aldi’s introduction of a living wage will benefit both business and staff.

As the Irish economy improves, he said, “it is an opportune time for employers who can now afford to do so to share the benefits of the recovery with their employees”.

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