Supermarkets to hire 16,500 more workers to help cope with rise in demand following coronavirus outbreak

Three major UK supermarkets have created 16,500 new positions to help deal with a huge surge in demand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Supermarket Lidl wants to hire 2,500 more workers to start immediately in four-week contracts to help with restocking shelves and assisting staff, and would pay £9.30 an hour outside London and £10.75 in the capital.

Lidl boss Christian Hartnagel said: "Temporarily expanding our teams is one way we can help support our colleagues and customers, whilst providing work to those that have had their employment affected by the current situation."

Lidl has been hit by panic shoppers in the last few weeks. Credit: PA

Fellow supermarket chains Aldi and Asda announced they'd be hiring 9,000 and 5,000 workers, respectively, to deal with the extra demand from individuals and households in self-isolation.

Asda chief executive Roger Burnley said Asda had to "play its part" to help those affected by Covid-19.

""Never in my 30 years in retail have I ever felt so keenly the role played by supermarkets in our communities... during these difficult times everyone has to work together," he said.

Aldi said 4,000 of the newly advertised positions would be permanent.

Lidl, which has 800 stores across the country, said the new hires would be "responsible for working together to keep the store clean, tidy and the shelves well stocked so that customers can get the products they need."

Earlier in the week, Co-op and Morrisons also announced they would expand their workforce to deal with the extra demand from individuals and households in self-isolation.

The Co-op offered 5,000 positions across its 2,600 stores across the country, and said it was simplifying the recruitment process so applicants could start within days.

The Co-op created 5,000 new jobs to deal with higher demand. Credit: PA

Supermarkets across the UK, including Lidl, introduced this week measures to curb panic buying and stockpiling of certain goods, especially toilet paper, antiseptic liquid and tinned goods.

Shoppers cannot buy more than four items of certain products in high demand, and some stores have introduced special opening hours for the elderly and vulnerable and for NHS workers.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson also urged Britons not to panic-buy earlier this week, saying he was "absolutely confident" the UK supply chains were working.

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