Lidl Spain agrees to a 7% salary increase this year for 15,500 employees | Economy

One of the Lidl stores in Malaga.
One of the Lidl stores in Malaga.LIDL (Europe Press)

Lidl, the third supermarket chain in Spain by market share, has agreed with the unions a salary increase of 7% this year for 15,500 employees in the country with the aim of limiting the impact of inflation on the purchasing power of the workforce . The decision is part of the renewal of the collective agreement, which will be valid for up to four years and which, as a whole, contemplates a salary increase for the period of 16.5%, as reported by the company this Thursday.

After this year’s increase, which will mean an increase of 22 million euros in their wage bill, an increase of 3.5% is established in 2023 and a minimum of 3% in both 2024 and 2025. In addition, it is incorporated for the first time a salary review clause based on the CPI (consumer price index), so that the salary increase can reach 19% in four years.

Lidl thus joins other companies in the sector that have compensated their employees for the rise in inflation. Mercadona increased wages in January by 6.5% (an increase equivalent to the CPI figure for December, as established by the agreement) for its more than 93,000 workers. El Corte Inglés has increased salaries in its supermarkets by 5.9% after applying the new collective agreement of the Supercor chain (the increase in the rest of the group is 1%, as established by the collective agreement of the department store sector, agreed by the employers of the sector, Anged, and the unions).

The increases in this sector contrast with those of others that keep salaries frozen or have barely raised them. The salary increases agreed in collective agreements continued in May at an average of 2.4%, according to the Ministry of Labor. The IPC in June already reached 10.2%.

Supermarket chains have some room to improve the conditions of their employees, since during the pandemic, in 2020 especially, they had better results than companies in other sectors because it is an essential service and the stores remain open. In addition, the closure of restaurants and the imposition of teleworking led many to eat at home and buy more at the supermarket. Although they also had to face many unexpected expenses to ensure the safety of customers and employees. At the end of 2021 and during the year they are also suffering from rising energy costs, which is eroding their margins.

“With the renewal of our collective agreement, we offer our employees a stable labor framework in an adverse situation such as the current one, guaranteeing at all times the purchasing power of our staff and advancing steadily in social matters thanks to the implementation of measures little habitual in the distribution sector and that make a difference in our country”, commented the general director of Lidl Spain, Claus Grande, in a statement.

voluntary holidays

The agreement introduces novelties such as the voluntary nature of working on holidays (provided that the normal operation of stores and warehouses is ensured). In addition, there will be an extraordinary payment if you work on these days. The maximum age of dependent minors for requests to reduce working hours is also increased from 12 to 14 years.

Both the representatives of UGT and CC OO have stressed that the new collective agreement is “a labor framework of guarantees.” The representatives of the workers calculate that, with the new measures, there will be a drop in the annual working day to 1,768 hours four years from now. 94% of the workforce (made up of a total of 17,000 people) have an indefinite contract.

In the 2020-2021 financial year (March to February), Lidl achieved sales of 4,825 million in the Spanish market, which represented a growth of 9% compared to the previous one. But it saw its net profit reduced by 13% to 151 million, in a year that was marked by the start of the pandemic. Regarding the fiscal year 2021-2022, which ended in February, the German company anticipated at the beginning of this year that sales would exceed 5,000 million.

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