Currys raises pay for third time in 13 months amid staff shortage | Retail industry

Currys has raised pay for the third time in 13 months to attract and retain workers amid a labor shortage and rise in the cost of living.

The electrical goods retailer said that from 30 October it was increasing rates by 3.5% to a minimum of £10.35 an hour (£11.43 in London), only a month after a previous rise came into effect.

The announcement follows a review by Currys’ cost of living group, set up earlier this year, which is made up of senior managers from across the business.

The company joins a string of other retailers to have raised pay twice in the past year amid a battle for workers and a rate of inflation that has hit 9.9%, eroding living standards.

The Bank of England governor, Andrew Bailey, has cautioned against large pay increases that could lead to inflation becoming “embedded” in the economy. Unions dismissed his argument as “a call for a national pay cut”.

Currys said “the current economic climate and feedback from colleagues” had led to the extra pay rise before its regular pay review in the spring, the results of which workers usually receive in August.

Alex Baldock, the group chief executive, said: “Every day I hear from colleagues who are feeling the impact of the rising cost of living and we’re determined to do what we can to help.”

The business is offering a discount of between 3% and 5% every week on shopping at major grocers such as Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s and free counseling on budgeting.

Last week Lidl and Marks & Spencer increased hourly pay. Lidl shot to the top of the retail pay league by taking entry-level hourly rates from £10.10 to £10.90 outside London and from £11.30 to £11.95 within the M25 that circles the capital. However, its pay for an eight-hour shift works out only 50p more than rival Aldi, which pays for statutory breaks.

Lidl’s pay rise matched the increase in the real living wage earlier this month as the charity that sets the rate approved a 10.1% increase to £10.90 an hour for outside London.

Launching the annual increase two months earlier than planned, the Living Wage Foundation recommended its biggest single rise yet in recognition of the intense pressure on households from rocketing energy prices and the highest inflation rate in 40 years. Its pay rates are yet to be matched by most other retailers.

M&S increased hourly pay for the second time this year, so that 40,000 staff are now on a minimum of £10.20.

Earlier this month, Sainsbury’s said its 127,000 hourly paid workers would get a 25p-an-hour increase to £10.25 from October, with the rate for staff in London stores increasing from £11.05 to £11.30. Aldi, Tesco, Asda and Pret a Manger have also increased their pay rates twice in a year.

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