Germany - Lidl surprises by proposing higher minimum wage - December 22, 2010

In the midst of negotiations between services union ver.di and the German Retail Federation (HDE) over a minimum wage for the 2.7 million retail workers, where an hourly base rate somewhere between € 7 and € 8.80 has been discussed, Juergen Kisseberth, director of discount supermarket chain Lidl, has come up with a proposal for a minimum hourly rate of € 10. Some critics of Lidl reacted surprised, as the discounter has been under fire in recent years for treating employees and suppliers poorly on a number of occasions. Ver.di officials have avoided speculations about the company’s motives. Union spokeswoman Cornelia Hass said, “We hope that this good example will be followed by other chains. A lot of retailers think it's acceptable to pay wages that their workers cannot live on in order to keep a competitive edge. Lidl pays good wages but still has a good competitive position. There really is no more convincing argument”, adding “This is a positive signal, but they will have to go a lot further before you hear me calling them a model company.”


This article was published in the Collective Bargaining Newsletter. It aims to facilitate information exchange between trade unions and to support the work of ETUC's collective bargaining committee. For more information, please contact the editor Maarten van Klaveren, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) You may find further information on the ETUI at, and on the AIAS at © ETUI aisbl, Brussels 2011.

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