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20/07/2015 11:48 BST | Updated 21/07/2015 17:59 BST

Ikea's Plan To Pay Over The Living Wage To Staff Gives Us One More Reason To Love The Retailer

Ludicrously cheap furniture, shops you can get lost in for hours, tasty meatballs at the cafe when your feet hurt from shopping... and there's now one more reason to love Swedish furniture store Ikea.

From 2016, Ikea will become the first national UK retailer to commit to paying its staff more than the new national living wage - meaning more than half of them will get a pay rise.

More than 50% of Ikea's workers will be impacted by the wage increase in a move that campaigners hope will be copied by companies around the country.

ikea london

Ikea's staff have reason to be cheerful today

The chain will pay every one of its 9,000 UK workers at least £7.85 an hour, and £9.15 per hour in London. Some 4,500 will see their pay go up as a result.

The company, best known for its flat-pack furniture, said the move was "only right" and would "create a better everyday life" for its staff.

Rhys Moore, Director of The Living Wage Foundation said Ikea's decision was "a huge step for the British retail sector and we hope that many other businesses will follow the leadership Ikea is showing on the issue of basic pay.”

Ikea is one of the most popular furniture retailers in the UK, and a fifth of British children are being conceived in Ikea beds.

Gillian Drakeford, Ikea's UK and Ireland Country Manager said, “As a values-driven organisation, we are guided by our vision to create a better everyday life for the many people, which of course includes our co-workers.

"We believe our people are the inner strength of our company, so it is only right to ensure we provide a meaningful wage that supports the cost of living."

She added that paying workers "also makes good business sense."

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Ikea's self-assembly furniture is very popular in the UK

"This is a long-term investment in our people based on our values and our belief that a team with good compensation and working conditions is in a position to provide a great experience to our customers,” she said.

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The living wage is part of a raft of wider changes Ikea is making, including making sure contracts and schedules suit its staff. In the last two years it has brought in performance-related bonuses as well as extra pension contributions for staff who have worked there for over five years.

Other UK retail giants have hinted they could follow suit on the living wage - Tesco boss Dave Lewis told campaigners in June that it was in talks about restructuring pay packages to increase basic salary, but has not made any promises.

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Even David Cameron (seen here before he became Prime Minister) is partial to Ikea

Chancellor George Osborne announced a new compulsory living wage of £7.20 an hour for workers over 25 in the most recent budget.

Rhys Moore of The Living Wage Foundation, said: “We are delighted with this momentous announcement that Ikea will be accrediting as a living wage employer. This is a historic moment in the life of the living wage movement, as Ikea become the first national retailer to announce their commitment to the living wage and they will reward all their staff with an hourly rate of pay that covers the cost of living."

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IKEA Breakfast In Bed Pop-Up Café