UK
30/09/2015 09:28 BST | Updated 30/09/2015 12:59 BST

Morrisons Follows Lidl With 'Living Wage' Promise

Morrisons has been praised for offering more than "warm words" for its workers by committing to pay the living wage for its workers from next March.

The supermarket chain is investing more than £40 million to give many of its staff a pay rise above the living wage, in the latest move by a retail giant to improve life for its employees.

More than 90,000 people will benefit from the change, which follows Lidl becoming the first supermarket to pay the living wage earlier in September and Costa Coffee giving workers a pay rise today.

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Morrisons will pay £8.20 an hour, the same amount as Lidl has promised

Morrisons will pay its staff a minimum of £8.20 per hour from March next year - up from its current minimum of £6.83 per hour.

The new wage is 35p more than the living wage Living Wage of £7.85 an hour - although still below the London living wage of £9.15 an hour.

Staff of all ages will get the wage increase, in a move that is costing Morrisons £40 million.

From today, Costa Coffee staff will be paid £7.40 an hour and £8.20 in London, up from their current rate of £6.65, after the coffee chain followed rival Starbucks in boosting wages.

The living wage is calculated to enable someone to afford the basic cost of living in the UK - which the government's current minimum wage doesn't meet, according to the Living Wage foundation.

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The minimum wage is £6.50 per hour, and £5.13 per hour for people aged 18–20, but campaigners have been says for years that it can't support living in the country today.

Campaigners from Citizens UK and ShareAction raised the problem of low pay at Morrison's AGM this year, and Moore said it was good that the opinions of customers, unions and staff had been "listened to and acted upon with more than just warm words."

Rhys Moore, Director of the Living Wage Foundation said he was "delighted" at Morrisons' commitment.

"Their commitment to paying a Living Wage to their staff is a huge move in the retail sector, showing others that they, along with retailers such as Lidl, Ikea and Oliver Bonas, can make better pay a reality on the British high street.

"We encourage other retailers to follow suit, and join more than 1,800 other businesses that recognise the living wage as a mark of responsible business."

A new compulsory 'National Living Wage' of £7.20 an hour will be introduced by the government in April 2016 - but only for those over 25, while those who are younger will remain on the minimum wage.

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