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Business briefing: Aldi ups pay 3% ‘to make its shop staff best earners’

ALDI is increasing wages for shop staff by just over three per cent, making it one of the best-paying supermarkets in the UK.

The no-frills chain said minimum hourly rates for store assistants will rise from £9.10 an hour to £9.40, with workers inside the M25 getting £10.90 an hour, up from £10.55.

Employees who have been with the business for three years or more will see their pay increase to £10.41 an hour, while workers in London with two years’ service will earn £11.15.

The company added that it is one of the few supermarkets to pay staff during breaks.

Aldi chief executive Giles Hurley said: ‘The dedication and commitment our store colleagues deliver every day when serving our customers underpins our success. We have the most efficient and productive workforce, and this is why they earn the highest rates of pay in the grocery sector.’

The new rates exceed the Living Wage Foundation’s recommendations, although Aldi is not a member of the organisation, which also requires companies to agree to a series of staff well-being levels.

Retailers and supermarkets are in a battle to keep and reward workers. By comparison, Sainsbury’s pays £9.20 per hour, (£9.80 in London); Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership, pays £9.35, plus variable bonuses; and Tesco a national flat rate of £9. Greggs recently announced that its staff would share a £7million bonus.

Blue-top planet! Plastic concern boosts milkmen

Bottling back: Milkman Jim Giblin, of McQueen’s Dairies, where traditional glass is in demand PICTURE: SWNS

MILKMEN are making a comeback as fears about the environment have prompted a five-fold increase in deliveries of glass milk bottles.

Early morning rounds began to die out in the 1990s as supermarkets started to sell milk in plastic cartons.

But now McQueen’s Dairies in Glasgow is hiring extra staff to cope with demand for the bottles which are collected, sterilised and reused.

The company’s Pauline Quigley said it also offers plastic containers but added: ‘Since David Attenborough’s programmes Blue Planet and Planet Earth investigated the impact of single use plastic in our oceans, we have seen a huge increase in glass enquiries.’

New Disney platform a big plus for UK fans

DISNEY’S new streaming service, Disney+, is launching in the UK on March 24.

Offering original content, films and other series from studios including Pixar and Marvel, as well as the Star Wars universe, subscriptions for the new platform will cost £5.99 a month, or £59.99 a year.

The launch has been brought forward by a week in an attempt to stop people watching pirated versions of shows such as The Mandalorian, the critically acclaimed Star Wars series, according to the BBC.

BUSINESS BITES

■ DIXONS CARPHONE had a poor Christmas. Like-for-like sales in its electricals division, including Currys PC World, fell two per cent in the ten weeks to January 4. Also, Carphone Warehouse sales fell nine per cent.

■ EASYJET says its sales soared on the back of Thomas Cook’s collapse. The airline’s revenue per seat grew by 8.8 per cent to £58.63 in the last quarter of 2019 — with 1.5 per cent of that from its rival’s downfall.

■ TALKTALK has sold its fibre broadband rollout arm to Cityfibre for £200million. The deal makes Goldman Sachs-backed Cityfibre the UK’s third largest digital infrastructure platform behind Virgin and BT.

■ THE owner of airport and rail station food outlets Upper Crust and Caffe Ritazza saw like-for-like sales rise 1.2 per cent in the last quarter. But SSP warned of the effects of French strikes and Hong Kong unrest.

■ UNEMPLOYMENT is at its lowest level since 1974 after the number of people claiming benefit dropped by 7,000 to just below 1.31million in the three months to November, the Office for National Statistics said.