October 8th: Welcoming the announcement by retail giant Lidl this morning that they will pay the Living Wage of €11.50 per hour to all employees in the Republic, Unite’s Ireland Secretary Jimmy Kelly said the decision is one more indication that the figure set by the Living Wage Technical Group – of which Unite is a member – is now recognised as what he termed a ‘benchmark of decency’. Lidl’s concession was in reaction to a campaign by Unite in Northern Ireland following the company’s decision to exclude Northern Ireland from its new Living Wage policy, announced in September for England, Scotland and Wales.
“Lidl’s decision to extend the Living Wage to the Republic and Northern Ireland is not only a victory for Unite members in Northern Ireland who were determined not to accept the company’s discriminatory decision not to extend their Living Wage pledge to all workers in these islands.
“It is also one more indication that the Living Wage of €11.50 set by the Living Wage Technical Group, of which Unite is a member, is now recognised as the benchmark of decency. The Living Wage is a powerful tool in the trade union movement’s struggle against poverty pay and for decent work.
“In the Republic, we would now urge Lidl to recognise their workers’ union, Mandate, to start addressing other issues such as low hours to ensure that the Living Wage translates into a Living Income”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.