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Wal-Mart to give nearly 40 pct of US workers pay raises

Published:Friday | February 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Customers walk outside of a Wal-mart store in San Jose, California.

NEW YORK, (AP):

Wal-Mart Stores Inc is spending $1 billion to make changes to how it pays and trains hourly US workers as the embattled retailer tries to reshape the image that its stores offer dead-end jobs.

As part of its biggest investment in worker training and pay ever, Wal-Mart told The Associated Press that within the next six months it will give raises to about 500,000 workers, or nearly 40 per cent of its 1.3 million employees. Wal-Mart follows other retailers that have boosted hourly pay recently, but because it's the largest private employer in the US, the impact of its move will be more closely watched.

In addition to raises, Wal-Mart said it plans to make changes to how workers are scheduled and add training programmes for sales staff so that employees can more easily map out their future at the company.

"We are trying to create a meritocracy where you can start somewhere and end up just as high as your hard work and your capacity will enable you to go," CEO Doug McMillon told the AP during an interview this week at the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The changes, which Wal-Mart announced yesterday as it reported fourth quarter results, come at a time when there's growing concern for the plight of US hourly workers.