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Tesco Equal Pay Case could cost them up to £4bn

BY Donald MacKinnon
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

Tesco could face a crippling bill should they be found to be paying their staff unequally. One hundred women who work as store assistants are claiming that their job is of ‘equal value’ to those who work in the warehouse which is mainly men.

Tesco shop floor workers are paid a basic £8 per hour yet those who work in the warehouse receive from £8.50 up to £11 per hour plus a Sunday premium. This follows a similar Asda case which is currently going through the courts.

The argument from those representing the Tesco shop floor workers is that, although those in the warehouse are not doing the same job, they are undertaking work of ‘equal value’ which became part of the Equal Pay Act in 1984. Although this can be complex, in simple terms, as long as there is either a male or female comparator in the corresponding job, an equal pay claim based on equal value can be raised. In this case, it is mainly women on the shop floor and mainly men in the warehouse, however it does not have to be exclusively women claiming for equal pay against men.

Paula Lee from Leigh Day, the firm representing the Tesco workers, has stated:

“We believe an inherent bias has allowed store workers to be underpaid over many years.

There might be lifting and carrying in the distribution centre but there is also lifting and carrying in shops as well as dealing with customers asking questions and handling money.”

Should the workers win their case, 20,000 workers could be in line to receive 6 years back pay of up to £5,000 for each year.

Although this is not directly related to gender pay reporting, it does come under the same umbrella. From April this year all companies in the private sector with more than 250 employees will have to publish a report on the gender pay gap within their business.

Empire will be able to offer support in this regard. Please call us for more information on 01224 701383

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